11/15/2004

Hard-Line Stance On Foreign Policy: No Allies!

Yahoo! News - [Bush] Moves Cement Hard-Line Stance On Foreign Policy

By accepting Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's resignation, President Bush (news - web sites) appears to have taken a decisive turn in his approach to foreign policy."

Powell's departure -- and Bush's intention to name his confidante, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice (news - web sites), as Powell's replacement -- would mark the triumph of a hard-edged approach to diplomacy espoused by Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Powell's brand of moderate realism was often overridden in the administration's councils of power, but Powell's presence ensured that the president heard divergent views on how to proceed on key foreign policy issues.

But, with Powell out of the picture, the long-running struggle over key foreign policy issues is likely to be less intense. Powell has pressed for working with the Europeans on ending Iran's nuclear program, pursuing diplomatic talks with North Korea (news - web sites) over its nuclear ambitions and taking a tougher approach with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (news - web sites). Now, the policy toward Iran and North Korea may turn decidedly sharper, with a bigger push for sanctions rather than diplomacy. On Middle East peace, the burden for progress will remain largely with the Palestinians.

Moreover, in elevating Rice, Bush is signaling that he is comfortable with the direction of the past four years and sees little need to dramatically shift course. Powell has had conversations for six months with Bush about the need for a "new team" in foreign policy, a senior State Department official said. But in the end only the key official who did not mesh well with the others -- Powell -- is leaving.

"My impression is that the president broadly believes his direction is correct," said former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).

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