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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Friday, September 05, 2003

Republicans Rally For Evolution - Democrats Demand "Intelligent Design"

The ever-shifting debate continues. It has been a long, ghastly summer for the foreign policy hardliners in the Bush Administration. The NY Times describes the roll-up:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4 - Few administrations enjoy making midcourse corrections in their foreign policies, much less admitting to making them. But this week it has become unmistakable that President Bush's team has had to rethink its approaches on Iraq and North Korea after a succession of setbacks and pressures at home and abroad.

In Iraq, the deadly bombings of late summer spurred a longstanding effort by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, bubbling under the surface since July, to widen the roles of the United Nations and American allies in the increasingly troubled occupation of Iraq.

On North Korea, the administration, which initially had insisted that there would be no concessions to the government of Kim Jong Il until a complete dismantling of its nuclear program had been accomplished, now says a step-by-step process could yield interim benefits for the North. Again, State Department officials who had long advocated a more conciliatory approach appear to have strengthened their hand.

Even as they declare that both these changes are evolutionary, administration officials acknowledge that after a grueling war in Iraq, a pendulum has begun to swing in the direction of diplomacy. "When negotiations start to meet reality, positions have to evolve," a senior administration official said today.

Democrats, as you have already figured out, would prefer policies that were intelligently designed at the outset.

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