Donald Rumsfeld on Foreign Policy

Secretary of Defense (Pres. Bush Cabinet)


2003: France & Germany are Old Europe; allies are New Europe

In Jan. 2003, a Dutch television reporter asked Don why America's European allies were not more supportive of our calls to hold Saddam Hussein to account. "You're thinking of Europe as Germany & France, " Don said. "I don't. I think that's old Europe."

Colin was furious. He was trying to persuade the Germans & French to join our cause at the United Nations, and he felt Don had crossed into his lane in a way that complicated his diplomatic mission. His subordinates clearly felt the same way. Policy disputes that once took place behind closed doors started spilling out in the press.

I spoke to Don and Colin individually. I asked Dick and Condi to work behind the scenes. Nothing worked.

Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p. 88 , Nov 9, 2010

OpEd: New Europe takes orders from US; Old Europe disagrees

A 2003 escapade is one of the clearest examples on record of contempt for democracy: Donald Rumsfeld's distinction between "Old Europe" and "New Europe," taken up by many others. The criterion distinguishing the two categories was sharp and clear. "Old Europe" consisted of the governments that followed the will of the overwhelming majority of their populations and refused to join the Bush-Blair invasion of Iraq. "New Europe" consisted of the governments that ignored an even larger majority of the population and took their orders from Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. Therefore "Old Europe" was bitterly condemned (including "freedom fries" in the Senate cafeteria), and "New Europe" was hailed as the hope for democracy. The favorite democrats of New Europe were Italy's Berlusconi, honored with visit to the White House, and Spain's Aznar, who was even invited to the summit to join Bush & Blair in announcing the war--with the support of 2% of the Spanish population, polls showed.
Source: Hopes and Prospects, by Noam Chomsky, p. 43-44 , Jun 1, 2010

Rumsfeld’s job: military solutions & disagree with Powell

Once Bush decided [to invade Iraq], he never looked back. At that point he expected his White House staff to support him, but he allowed his Cabinet officers wider latitude. “People say that Rumsfeld and Powell are at war with each other,” an aide said. “No kidding. They’re supposed to be. The State Department’s answer to most anything is diplomacy. The Defense Department’s answer to almost anything is weapons and warfare. The question is what is the right mix of those for each situation. You want those differences of opinion to exist in any organization, and you have this ongoing dialogue. The glue that holds it together, according to management consultants, is mutual respect. If you respect one another, you’ll find the right balance. So do Powell and Rumsfeld respect each other? I believe they do. Are their disagreements excessive? Are they dysfunctional? I’ve never seen that.“
Source: A Matter of Character, by Ronald Kessler, p.134-35 , Aug 5, 2004

Sometimes leaders have to act without public consensus

Rumsfeld also drew an important distinction between his views of the use of force and some of those expressed by retired Gen. Colin L. Powell, Bush’s nominee to be secretary of State. He said leaders should not require overwhelming public support as a prerequisite for taking action. “I’m uncomfortable with that,” he said. “There are times when leaders have to act when the public’s not there yet.”
Source: Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post, on Bush Cabinet , Jan 11, 2001

Role in the world: military strength and moral clarity.

Rumsfeld signed Project for the New American Century Statement of Principles

American foreign policy is adrift. Conservatives have criticized the incoherent policies of the Clinton Administration. They have also resisted isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. But conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategi

Source: PNAC Principles 97-PNAC-FP on Jun 3, 1997

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