Sunday, October 28, 2007
Recent reporting on the North Korean and Iranian nuclear standoffs has revealed a recurring split within the Bush administration, one that basically boils down to Condi Rice and Bob Gates on one side arguing for restraint and diplomacy, Dick Cheney on the other arguing for a more, shall we say, pugnacious approach to the problems. To the extent that the Bush administration has shown more restraint on each of these dossiers than it did in dealing with the Iraq "threat", it's because the Rice-Gates faction has proven more able to push back against the Cheney gang than Rice and Colin Powell were able to do when Don Rumsfeld was backing Cheney up.
Of course, this shift is a direct result -- perhaps the most significant one -- of the November 2006 elections. The Democratic base expected the election to realign the balance of power between the Executive and Legislative branches of the Federal government. But given the actual numbers, those expectations were probably exagerrated.
On the other hand, the election did manage to realign power within the Executive. It's not quite what folks were hoping for, but given the circumstances, it's probably the only thing standing between us and a headlong rush over a neocon cliff.