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[Opinion] President Bush’s “Revolving-Door Appointments”

[Opinion] President Bush’s “Revolving-Door Appointments”

Posted March. 18, 2005 22:39,   


A South Korean expert on North Korea recently met Robert Gallucci, Dean of Georgetown University and former assistant secretary of state, in Washington D.C. During the first North Korean nuclear crisis, Gallucci, as the head of the U.S. delegation, made a great contribution to the conclusion of the 1994 Agreed Framework between the United States and North Korea. He is considered one of the most renowned pro-Korean figures, and is categorized as a “dove” who puts much importance on continuing dialogue with the North. “Recently, the Bush administration is not bothering to hear any words from Democrat-leaning figures like me,” Gallucci reportedly said to one Korean expert.

Hard-line neo-conservatives are exerting more clout than ever over the Bush administration. In President Bush’s first term in office, they seemed at least careful, as there were many voices that worried about their approach. But in the second Bush administration, they have acted like runaway horses. They might have been greatly encouraged by the winds of democratization sweeping the Middle East after the U.S. victory in the war on Iraq. Their confidence is understandable, given the fact that, despite international criticism, Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of State and a representative neo-conservative, was recently nominated as the new president of the World Bank.

It seems that there are some views in the United States that these are good illustrations of the “uncouth and outspoken aspects of the Bush administration.” According to such views, by appointing a neo-conservative instead of a finance expert as president of the World Bank, (a post which has long been taken by US-appointed candidates), the United States has revealed its intention to utilize the World Bank as a tool for “the proliferation of democracy” in a too-straightforward way. Nevertheless, the U.S. decision is facing cynicism from others. “Mr. Wolfowitz will make a dynamic duo with John Bolton, former U.S. assistant secretary of state, who was recently appointed as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations—to frustrate international cooperation efforts,” jeered one non-governmental organization.

The unilateral approach of the Bush administration is a major subject of study for academics, and which is representative of the recent debate on “imperialism” in international politics. The point of the debate is whether the United States is transforming itself from a superpower into an empire from its arguments for “preemptive action” against terrorist groups. President Bush’s “revolving-door appointment” of Wolfowitz could be just another sign of that American empire.

Song Mun-hong, Editorial writer, songmh@donga.com