Thursday, January 4

John Negroponte to State, at last!

If you have been wondering why President Bush sacrificed John Bolton, now you know. There will still be a Senate fight over John Negroponte's confirmation as second in command at the US Department of State, and the Left is having conniptions about Bush's choice. But that's the price the Eurocentrics in Congress will have to pay for keeping Sri Bolton out of the United Nations.

And with the ascension of a law and order guy to the top post at the UN, Bolton's presence is not so critical there, whereas State can't make headway until someone like Negroponte takes over the number 2 post there.

Negroponte is no Robert Zoellick; he is not confused about where America's national security interests lie, and he doesn't believe that unrestricted trade will save the world. Thank God. Everybody with half a brain knows that a judicious mixture of carrot-and-stick keeps the world on keel, and Negroponte knows how to wield both.

Also, Negroponte's vast experience in Latin America -- you know, that place to the south of the US -- is a huge bonus for American foreign policy. And by the way, he speaks Spanish.

No handwringing about his leaving the post as Director of National Intelligence after being there a scant two years. Before Bush could nominate a truly good fit for the post, he needed a clear idea of how US intel agencies were working with each other and where the bottlenecks were.

Negroponte's real job as the director was to wrest order out of the chaos of reports about interagency infighting and pass on the information to Bush. Negroponte's nomination to the post said more about the thinness of suitable candidates than his credentials to manage intelligence agencies.

But making him the Deputy Secretary of State is a master stroke. If Negroponte makes it through the confirmation process, we have the beginnings of a truly US-centric foreign policy, and one that will give due importance to US relations in the western hemisphere.

Speaking of the western hemisphere, the editor of a blog that is dedicated to reporting on that region contacted me the other day, which is how I learned about the blog. I invite Pundita readers to bookmark the blog, which is sorely needed: Western Hemisphere Policy Watch.

All right; that's enough good news for one day. Time to knuckle down to today's Pundita post on China's moves in Vietnam. I'll grant it's a lot of reading, but good US foreign policy decisions depend on understanding just exactly what Beijing means by their policy of "peaceful rising;" thus, the Frankenstein series......

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