Talks about serious discrepancies in the Bush Administration have recently become vivid again. It is said that Secretary of State Collin Powel disagrees with the foreign policy of the USA carried out by Vice-President Richard Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Suppositions appeared once again that Collin Powel plans to resign. However, this time, it is said he plans to resign in 2004, even if George W. Bush is elected president for a second term.
An offensive against Saddam Hussein is the key reason for the discrepancies in the US Administration. It isn’t correct to say that Collin Powel is against such a war. It was he who stood in command of the United Committee of headquarter commanders during the Desert Storm operation; he is also an active participant of the organization and realization of the anti-Iraq operation. Therefore, it is unlikely that Collin Powel is very concerned about the future of Baghdad’s regime.
It is quite another matter that the secretary of state is working to create an international coalition to wage war against Iraq. These attempts are justified in the light of the long-term interests of US foreign policy. In any case, it is more legitimate to create a coalition consisting of several states to fight against Iraq than an anti-Iraq operation carried out by the USA alone.
Unlike the beginning of the 1990s, when Iraq’s aggression against Kuwait was perfectly evident, and Washington easily won international support to create an anti-Hussein alliance, this time, the plans of the White House are not supported even by its closest allies. According to recent opinion polls, 70% of the British population object to an anti-Iraq war, not to mention the Arab world!
However, hawks from the US government are not confused at all by the fact that they enjoy no international support. The White House sticks to the principle of the old Cato who said in the Roman senate: “Carthago delenda est!” At that, Washington provides no arguments WHY Saddam Hussein should be eliminated. Unsubstantiated statements that Baghdad is working on the creation of weapons of mass destruction are probably one of the reasons of US hatred towards Hussein. However, much financing is required to create effective weapons (real weapons, not some envelopes with white powder). Iraq can hardly afford this now.
Collin Powel and his followers in the US administration probably understand perfectly well that Washington is providing no reasonable arguments for its policy. Not to persuade the world community once again of the fact that the USA doesn’t care about other countries’ opinion, Collin Powel makes statements that sometimes contradict statements made by Cheney and Rumsfeld. The other day, the secretary of state said that international inspections are the first thing to do to settle the Iraqi problem. However, the opinions of the US vice-president, defense secretary, and even of the US president seem to be quite different. Press-secretary Ari Fleisher explained the words of Collin Powel: “The secretary of state meant that inspections in Iraq are to be the first step, because even UN experts can’t say for sure that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.” At the same time, the press-secretary denied information about any discrepancies in the US administration.
The matter of the fact is that no one in the White House objects to a war against Iraq; simply disagree on when the war should be launched. The “hawks” can’t wait until the secretary of state forms an international coalition. And Collin Powel, in its turn, is annoyed by the fact that his opinion is not respected. Therefore, his intention to resign is quite serious; he doesn’t conceal this intention at all. In any case, Powel’s career is breath-taking: there are other Afro-Americans who have managed to reach such a high position. But for his age, Collin Powel could even run for for president himself (due to the fact that George W. Bush is going to take part in the presidential election in 2004, he will be seventy by the time of the election in 2008). However, Republicans are unlikely to welcome an Afro-American to the post of president.
In any case, it is Collin Powel himself who is to decide whether to proceed with his political career or not. The final decision will be taken no earlier than 2004, certainly if something extraordinary doesn’t happen.