Thursday, January 04, 2007

Rearranging the deck chairs - Negroponte moves to State Dept.

This is rather bizarre. I certainly never saw it coming and I find the official version somewhat suspect. Why would Negroponte give up a lead chair in the administration, one that affords him a daily chance to bend the president's ear, for a number two slot as Condi Rice's deputy. I find it difficult to believe that (a) she was really begging him to do it, and (b) that he would have accepted the position unless he was forced to.

I think Booman could be on the right track in analyzing this. It could well be Negroponte is being sent in to rescue Rice, who is obviously in over her head but can't really be removed since doing so would only emphasize the failed foreign policy of the White House. And perhaps Negroponte will still enjoy the same access to the Oval Office behind the scenes, despite taking second chair to Condi.

However, I also have a darker theory born of my inherent suspicion of Negroponte that has grown out his role in the Iran Contra scandal. Looking back, there was a similar sort of chaos in Nicaragua as there currently is in Iraq. We were actively supporting the Contra insurgents against the Sandinista government. Though he was never charged, it's widely accepted that Negroponte had an heavy hand in the death squads and other dirty tricks that proved extremely useful in removing the Sandinistas from power.

Now, we're not that happy with the current Iraqi government but we could hardly overtly support a regime change after installing the new government ourselves. What better way to make a change than by black-ops and who better to lead it than the biggest black-op of all time - Mr. Negroponte? If you think about it, he already knows all the pertinent players from his previous stints and it makes perfect sense for him to take second chair where he can operate under the radar. Nobody pays attention to the deputies of any Cabinet department.

Of course, it's all speculation at this point and we'll have to wait and see how it all shakes out. I must admit I'm glad to see him out of national intelligence at least. That always made me uneasy. Not that the new guy sounds much better but there's a slim chance he has a conscience.

[Thanks to Slate and Michael van der Galien at the Moderate Voice for the links]
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