Thursday, January 04, 2007

Shuffling the Decks

Both the American and Israeli governments are shuffling key positions.

In the US, John Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, is resigning from his current position to take the position of Undersecretary of State. That isn't a lateral move, but one that reduces his visibility. Unless he's being set up to take over for Rice or to assist in cleaning up the morass that is Foggy Bottom, I don't understand the move. The latter possibility is more likely, but that isn't going to keep the pundits from making their predictions as to what will happen next. In Negroponte's stead, President Bush will nominate retired Vice Adm. Mike McConnell intelligence chief.

Harriet Miers, counsel to the White House, also resigned. This is far more understandable. President Bush's nomination of Miers as an associate justice to the US Supreme Court was a debacle that should never have been allowed to float even as a trial balloon. She was quite unqualified and could not withstand the rigors of the initial interviewing period.

And should it come as any surprise that the majority of Americans find that the media's coverage of Iraq is lacking? That has some effect on the way that the election results came down, though the exact effect is not clear.

Nancy Pelosi was sworn in today and will be the first female Speaker of the House. Congrats. With great power comes great responsibility. Let's see you use it wisely, or else you'll be an ex-Speaker in two years time. Thus far, if you look at the agenda for the first 100 hours, I'm not impressed as the priorities appear to be on everything but national security. We'll see how far that gets the Democrats.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert appear to be on the cusp of sacking Defense Minister Amir Peretz. Israeli papers say that he is still there, but others say he's gone. His handling of the situation in Lebanon and Gaza has been savaged by this page and others. However, he alone should not take the fall for the incompetence by Prime Minister Olmert who tried to have it every which way but victory. Still awaiting word on his fate? The dovish Labor party is furious over the possible move. Figures. Peretz is the head of Labor and part of the Kadima coalition government. Sacking Peretz could bring about calls for new elections and the way the Israeli public is feeling right now, I doubt that Labor would gain seats.

It's being reported that President Bush will nominate Zalmay Khalilzad to be the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He's currently the U.S. ambassador to Iraq.

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