"Weapons of Mass Deception"


Hardliner slips into the team

January 23, 2005

HE IS the “most important neoconservative you’ve never heard of”, according to one of his admirers, writes Tony Allen-Mills. He is an “ideologue’s ideologue”, according to a senior American official.

His name is Robert Joseph, and he seems to have slipped under his enemies’ radar as one of the most intriguing appointments of President Bush’s second term.

Joseph is expected to be named this week as successor to John Bolton, who regularly provoked political storms as an outspoken undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.

There was relief in London and other international capitals when Bolton’s departure from the State Department was announced. He was seen by many as a loose cannon and North Korea had labelled him “human scum”. But the only difference between Bolton and Joseph, one Washington insider claimed last week, is that Joseph tends not to brief the media on his radically right-wing views.

International reaction to the appointment has so far been muted. “We note the positioning of a hardliner such as Robert Joseph, but we do not expect this to create divisions . . . as was the case in the past,” said a senior aide to President Roo Moo-hyun of South Korea.

European officials appear to be adopting a wait-and-see approach. Bolton was publicly dismissive of European negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme; Joseph has yet to show his hand.

Other faces to watch in Bush’s second term include Michael Chertoff, the former prosecutor who replaced Bernard Kerik as the president’s nominee to head the homeland security department. Chertoff is best known for his pursuit of Bill and Hillary Clinton over Whitewater and other scandals.

The business world is watching Carlos Gutierrez, who joined the Kellogg’s cereal company as a lorry driver, rose to become its chief executive and is now taking over the commerce department. Margaret Spellings, regarded as the most influential woman in Washington after Condoleezza Rice, moves to education from her previous job as a White House adviser to Bush.

It is by no means clear, however, that Washington has seen the last of Bolton. There is speculation he may join the staff of Dick Cheney, the vice-president who plays a leading role in the projection of US power around the globe.

Despite predictions that the strains of the war in Iraq would curb neoconservative authority, the team that pushed for an attack on Baghdad remains largely intact.

Neither Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defence secretary, nor Douglas Feith, a prominent defence ideologue, has yet been moved from Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon.
# The former US secretary of state, James Baker, has emerged as President Bush's most likely choice as a special envoy to the Middle East peace process. Baker, 74, who served in the administration of the first President George Bush, is close to Robert Zoellick, the former US trade representative selected to be deputy secretary of state.,,2089-1452249,00.html

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Milton Frihetsson, 03:27


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