Over the last several

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April 22, 2003 11:39 a.m.

Over the last several months I’ve become widely associated with what might be called the ‘botched diplomacy’ hypothesis. (The Wall Street Journal Online, for what it’s worth, disparagingly called me the “brains behind the Democrats’ ‘botched diplomacy’ spin.”) Well, now I’m getting some high-profile support … from Newt Gingrich.

AEI had a big confab this morning at which Gingrich announced his support for precisely this argument. (His presentation was previewed in the Post this morning.) American diplomacy, he argued, has been an unmitigated disaster over the last several months.

Here’s a taste …

The State Department communications program failed during these five months to such a degree that 95 percent of the Turkish people opposed the American position. This fit in with a pattern of State Department communications failures as a result of which the South Korean people regarded the United States as more dangerous than North Korea and a vast majority of French and German citizens favored policies that opposed the United States.

Only there’s a catch. As the above quotation implies, the problem isn’t with the Bush administration or its policies. It’s all due to the meddling of the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. The reason the Europeans and the Turks and everyone else turned against us isn’t because of Bush administration policy. It’s because the State Department and the particularly the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs refused to implement Bush administration policy.

The answer? Purge the State Department.

(Note to all members of the conintern: Stop zagging! Time to zig! (What’s the reference? See Novick, That Noble Dream, p. 419) The inevitability-of-no-international-support party line is no longer operative. We’re on to State Department betrayal. Crib-sheets for the new argument can be picked up at the AEI front desk, laminated wallet-sized versions available at ATR.)

Ever since that whole elective office gig didn’t pan out, Gingrich has been casting around for a new angle. And this would seem to be it. Gingrich’s rhetorical palette remains about the same as ever: red, yellow, orange and hot orange. So we’ll of course be saying much more about this.

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