Colin Powell Resigns

Secretary of State Colin Powell, as many have been expecting, has tendered his resignation, effective once a suitable replacement has been found.

Powell did the best he could, but had been saddled with a bureaucracy of entrenched interests that often went to the contrary of the President’s policy objectives. Powell also had to deal with the arrogance and the cynicism of European powers who had every interest in constraining the United States no matter what the cost. Such circumstances would be straining to anyone. However, Powell did some impressive shuttle diplomacy in securing the release of American pilots in China early in the Bush Administration, as well as helping get as much international support as he could for the war in Iraq. No amount of persuasion would change the minds of Jacques Chirac or Dominique de Villepin, which meant that Powell’s task was nearly Sisyphean in scope.

My guess would be that Condoleezza Rice would be the natural successor to Powell. She’s fluent in several languages, is extremely accomplished, and practically unflappable – all qualities necessary for success in the cutthroat world of international diplomacy. She also has the will to reform the Foreign Service and ensure that State works for American interests rather than against them. It’s a difficult task, but she would be one of the few who could pull it off.

UPDATE: Also resigning is Secretary of Education Rod Paige, Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman, and Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. Cabinet resignations between Presidential terms like this are fairly normal, the turnover of Cabinet-level personnel is quite high.

One wonders if Rumsfeld will stay on or not…

6 thoughts on “Colin Powell Resigns

  1. Dr. Rice is hardly an “empty vessel” given that she has more diplomatic and security experience than Colin Powell and was a former provost of Stanford. Quite frankly, Dr. Rice is probably one of the most singularly intelligent and perceptive people who have ever served the United States government.

  2. Being a provost of Stanford and having a high IQ does not necessarily make you a capable Secretary of State. I encourage you to read the article I mentioned in my previous post.

    As I’m in Europe right now, I can also say that the vast majority of people here are very disappointed at Powell’s departure. He was viewed as one of the few moderates in the administration, and a person who was skilled at working with America’s allies.

  3. Dr. Rice is the most qualified person there is to take the helm at state. She has years of foreign policy experience.

    The article you pointed to is another deeply anti-Semitic conspiracy story that assumes that the “neo-cons” (who just so happen to be Jewish) secretly are pulling the strings for Israel. It plays into the typical arguments of the anti-Semite: that Jews secretly run the world for their own ends and that all Jews have a loyalty only to Israel. Such canards are beneath civilized discourse.

    Dr. Rice is preferable precisely because she will remove the cancerous bureaucracy at State that seeks to subjugate US interests to other interests. State is in dire need of reform, and Dr. Rice is fully committed to doing what it takes to ensure that the Department of State remains an arm of US foreign policy and does not attempt to create their own foreign policy that often works against the interests of this country.

  4. Not all neocons are Jewish, like Cheney, Bolton and Libby–who ever said they were? You are just trying to frame the debate so you can hurl charges of racism, i.e., anti-Semite. That’s weak, and so is the fact you don’t refute any of the statements made by the official in the State Dept. who wrote the article. He wrote over a month ago that Powell would be out and Rice would most likely take his place. Hmm…maybe the guy knows something.

    As for Rice, Jim Lobe of Inter Press Service highlighted some of her track record in the administration (

    “Indeed, most analysts assess her experience overseeing the National Security Council (NSC) staff quite negatively because of her reluctance to take a position when policies were deadlocked, to ensure all sides were heard, and to enforce discipline on the various agencies once a policy was decided.

    “As a result, policy reviews in key areas, such as Iran and North Korea, to cite two of the most prominent examples, dragged on for months and in some cases were never completed.

    “To the great frustration of Powell and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director George Tenet, Rice tolerated informal channels of communication between the mainly neoconservative appointees around Rumsfeld and Cheney’s office, which is headed by his neocon chief of staff and national security adviser, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

    “Libby, whose own national security staff has been exceptionally large and aggressive, “is able to run circles around Condi,” one former NSC staffer told IPS last year.”

  5. Citing a bunch of far-left wing sources as being objective or accurate is hardly worthwhile. It’s not a big surprise that Powell would leave at the end of the first Bush term and Rice was always the natural replacement. That’s like saying it’s going to rain when the clouds are coming through.

    For the record, the “neoconservatives” are correct in this matter, and the use of “neocon” as some kind of slur only appeals to the far left in this country.

  6. It’s funny, when you can’t argue against content you automatically resort to name calling and conspiracy theories. So you call me anti-Semitic, the State whistleblower is anti-Semitic too. So is Noam Chomsky, conservatives like Pat Buchanan and left wing Israeli groups who are working to improve the lives of Palestinians. I suppose all the countries who condemn excessive force by the Israeli military are anti-Semitic as well, even though UN votes are often Israel and the US vs. the rest of the world, 160-2, or something similar. I guess Asia, Latin America, Europe and Africa are all anti-Semitic now. Gee, it looks like you’ve stumbled upon a conspiracy, everybody is anti-Semitic.

    The tragedy is there is real anti-Semitism in the world, but people like you cheapen it by using the term in every instance that there is a real case to be made against Israeli politics. I’m not suprised given that you compared Michael Moore to Joeseph Goebbles. Such abuse of terminology and history diminishes the true suffering of Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust and those that are targeted by anti-Jewish groups today, such as some skinheads. They are anti-Semitic. The people who oppose our government taking such a one-sided position in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are opposed to far right Israeli policies. They are opposed to policies, Jay, not Jewish people. I hope you can appreciate the difference. Either that or you’d have to agree that all people who oppose affirmitive action are anti-Black. Do you hate Black people, Jay?

    Neocon is not a slur. Who determined this? It only became one in your mind when you realized you couldn’t make a cogent counterarguement to well-reasoned writings such as the one I referenced by the anonymous source in State (by the way, The Slate posted it first, so you can call them anti-Semitic too).

    Some day even the densest and most zealous of the pro-Israel-all-the-time crowd will finally realize that until the Palestinians are given their due, America and Israel will continue to suffer the wrath of Arabs, Muslims and all others who are sympathetic to the sub-human treatment they’ve faced for decades.

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