The diplo crowd had raised its hopes of late that Condoleezza Rice would return to her realist roots once confirmed as secretary of state and then restrain ideological activists at the Pentagon.
The diplos watched approvingly as Rice tapped a number of career officers and former secretary of state James A. Baker III hands to senior-most jobs: Robert B. Zoellick as No. 2 and career officer R. Nicholas Burns as No. 3, along with highly regarded career officers to key posts at the undersecretary and assistant secretary levels.
_____In the Loop_____
Miami 'Riot' Squad: Where Are They Now? (The Washington Post, Jan 24, 2005)
The Other Right Hand (The Washington Post, Jan 21, 2005)
Lowering the Boom (The Washington Post, Jan 19, 2005)
Al Kamen (The Washington Post, Jan 17, 2005)
Inaugural Short Circuit (The Washington Post, Jan 14, 2005)
More In the Loop
But word last week, according to the San Jose Mercury News, was that Rice had tapped Stanford University professor Stephen D. Krasner, a close pal and mentor from university days, to the key job of director of policy planning.
This is raising some eyebrows.
From its iconic first director, George F. Kennan, the policy planning chief, gatekeeper for all paper that heads to the secretary's desk, usually is a veteran Washington hand: Think of Winston Lord for Henry A. Kissinger, Peter W. Rodman and Richard H. Solomon for George P. Shultz, Dennis B. Ross for Baker, Morton H. Halperin for Madeleine K. Albright, or Richard N. Haass for Colin L. Powell.
In contrast, Krasner spent about a year here in the early days of this administration, first at policy planning and then working for Rice on the National Security Council staff.
In addition, though he has long been respected as a premier thinker firmly in the realist camp, his latest views on preventive war seem to be more in sync with the Pentagon's, judging from his article in the most recent issue of Foreign Policy. In that piece, Krasner speculates on what would happen if terrorists set off nuclear explosions here and in New Delhi, Berlin and Los Angeles.
"Full-scale preventive wars would be accepted in principle," he says, "and the major powers would no longer" bother trying to get United Nations approval. "A consortium of major powers would assume executive authority and declare the international legal sovereignty of the occupied territory null and void.
"A state's right to control the exploitation of its natural resources (most notably oil) within its territory will be an added casualty," Krasner writes, adding that there is a "growing tension" between states that cannot manage their internal affairs and "the handful of states that possess the means and wherewithal to set matters right."
Meanwhile, U.N. membership "would be contingent upon a state's ability to effectively control it's own territory," he predicts. Presumably he is exempting America's inability to control immigration across its borders. Well, no confirmation required for this gig.
Red-Carpet Furlers Strike Early
Speaking of confirmation, it is certain Rice will be confirmed by the Senate, but it is annoying that her hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week got a bit testy. That may have sparked the Democrats to delay her confirmation.
Probably would have happened no matter what she said, but it interfered with a little rollout planned last Friday.
The White House figured the Senate would approve Rice last week, according to a wire service report, and State Department officials were told to show up Friday morning "to greet her with smiles and applause." (And here we always thought this was spontaneous.)
Then this week, Rice's first two big-time visitors as secretary were to be her British counterpart Jack Straw -- whom she, as national security adviser, saw anyway Monday -- then yesterday with Germany's Joschka Fischer. Oh, well, there's still that trip to Europe.
E-Mail Yourself to Nowhere
Some things have a feel of inevitability. And this e-mail Monday from Charles Curie, head of the Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to all staff was entirely predictable -- especially after deputy administrator James L. Stone inadvertently e-mailed a most negative evaluation of one of his program chiefs, Beverly Watts Davis, director of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, to more than 500 people at the agency.
Stone, who was, at least by the professionals, one of the most highly regarded SAMHSA administrators in recent years, promptly apologized for his Dec. 30 missive, but the damage, apparently, had been done.
"I am writing to inform you," Curie wrote everyone on Monday, "that James Stone has accepted a new position as Executive Director of the Intra-Departmental Council on Native American Affairs, located in the Department's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs." This appears to be a multilevel drop, though his pay and Senior Executive Service rank are not affected.
There was the usual blather in Curie's note about "extraordinary efforts and significant progress" on tribal health. He said he wanted "to extend my appreciation for Jim's service here at SAMHSA and offer my best wishes on his new position." Curie chief of staff Gail Hutchings has been named acting deputy administrator.
The word at SAMHSA is that there's no "send" button on Stone's new computer.
Missing but Not Lost
Thanks to all for updating us on two participants in the Brooks Brothers Riot in Miami in 2000. Steve Brophy, a former GOP Senate aide, is now working as chief of staff to Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Kevin Smith, who had been at the now-defunct Voter.com, is a communications adviser to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.