Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Division between Bush & Rice

The Washington Times' "Insight" magazine reports there are significant tensions between President Bush and Secretary of State Condi Rice over the Israeli/Lebanon conflict.

Rice reportedly favors pressuring Israel to end its bombardment of Lebanon in pursuit of Hezbollah. Bush prefers to let the bombing, and attendant loss of life, continue.

"I've never seen her so angry," an aide said.

The U.S. response to the Israeli-Hezbollah war was said to have divided both the administration as well as the family of President George W. Bush. At the same time, it marked the first time since Ms. Rice became secretary of state that the president has overruled her.

"For the last 18 months, Condi was given nearly carte blanche in setting foreign policy guidelines," a senior government source familiar with the issue said. "All of a sudden, the president has a different opinion and he wants the last word."

The disagreement between Mr. Bush and Ms. Rice is over the ramifications of U.S. support for Israel's continued offensive against Lebanon. The sources said Mr. Bush believes that Israel's failure to defeat Hezbollah would encourage Iranian adventurism in neighboring Iraq. Ms. Rice has argued that the United States would be isolated both in the Middle East and Europe at a time when the administration seeks to build a consensus against Iran's nuclear weapons program.

Instead, Ms. Rice believes the United States should engage Iran and Syria to pressure Hezbollah to end the war with Israel. Ms. Rice has argued that such an effort would result in a U.S. dialogue with Damascus and Tehran on Middle East stability.
The article mentions that Rice is receiving support from Brent Scowcroft, Bush 41's national security advisor. The pragmatic, paleo-con view of Scowcroft and Rice is being challenged by the neo-con vision presented to Bush by Cheney and Rumsfeld.

As we know, Bush is the Decider. He decides what's best. If Bush thinks more death and destruction, including the bombing of a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, are the keys to peace, that's how it's going to be. Rice can get on board, or hit the highway.

The Bush foreign policy, such as it is, is war.