November 17, 2004

The Hadley File

Kessler on Hadley here.

Some administration insiders have faulted Hadley for allowing Pentagon officials to rewrite the summary of decision meetings more to their liking -- or for permitting policy disputes to fester. For instance, on May 14, 2002, when the administration was debating what to say to the North Koreans at its first high-level bilateral meeting, State Department representatives, led by Deputy Secretary Richard L. Armitage, believed they had secured the approval of Hadley to adopt the middle-ground approach, known as option 2.

But during the meeting, Hadley announced he had looked at option 2 but really favored option 3, the more hard-line approach, according to the notes of one attendee. Armitage recovered and said he wanted what he called "2b" -- a combination of 2 and 3. The inconclusive result allowed the hawks on North Korea policy to build more support for their position, according to officials involved.

2(b). Heh. This little vignette kinda sums up the last four years, no? Powell would want "1" (or 1.5 or such). Rummy/Wolfy/Cheney would want "3". Rice/Hadley would signal, to Armitage, a "2" might be in the cards. But, when push came to shove, the 2 would veer towards the 3. You know, 2(b). Result--Powell would look smaller but keep the big wind out of the neo-con sails. Neo-cons would spin a victory but wouldn't really have one. So policy drift results. (Nor, incidentally, does any of this quite get the pulse racing either, eh? Regardless, bully for Armitage on the salvage job...there were quite a few more, I hear).

To be, or not to be: that is the question...Or, more apropos, the question is whether this cabinet rejuggling will have us getting coherent policies (hopefully the right ones!) or more drift, 1, drift, 3, drift, er, 2(b)! (Pity Kissingers come so few and far between, isn't it?)

Posted by Gregory at November 17, 2004 04:30 AM

Actually, I think it's the reverse --- in some perverse way, the "hawks" on North Korea ended up pushing the Bush Administration into the most do-nothing stance there could possibly be. Instead of an aggressive policy on North Korea, what we got was next to nothing.

Posted by: Mitsu at November 17, 2004 05:35 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yep, ain't it great!

Actually, we've gotten something. We got China involved. Without them involved, no success is possible (short of just nuking NK).

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