Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Khalilzad Goes Off The Reservation

By Cernig

I'm deriving a lot of amusement this morning from rightwinger outrage on US ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad's entering into a dialogue with Iranian officials at the Davos forum.
An appearance by America's U.N. ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, on a World Economic Forum discussion panel — alongside two Iranian officials, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, and a close aide to President Ahmadinejad, Samare Hashemi — was unauthorized by the State Department and angered Secretary of State Rice, Washington sources said yesterday.
The panel, titled "Understanding Iran's Foreign Policy," took place in Davos, Switzerland, and dealt mostly with Iran's nuclear policy, just as Security Council diplomats — including America's U.N. mission headed by Mr. Khalilzad — began to forge a new resolution that would impose new punitive measures on Iran for its refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment program, as demanded by the council. ...

The Bush administration policy, however, calls on all American officials to seek an authorization from the State Department before conducting dialogue with Iranian officials. The only person exempted from that restriction is the American ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, who can discuss Iraq-related issues with Iranian officials on a regular basis, according to a State Department official in Washington who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Mr. Khalilzad's participation on the Davos panel was "not authorized," the official told The New York Sun yesterday, after a videotaping of the event was posted on the Web site YouTube and made the rounds among diplomats at the United Nations.
Just maybe, Khalilzad thought that being sent to the Davos meet in the first place, where panels like this are what's supposed to occur, was authorisation enough. If so, he misjudged the Bush adminsitration's fetish for micromanagement. You'd think he knew better after all these years.

But what's really hilarious is that the wingnuts have practically declared Zalmay a traitor to his adopted nation (he's Afghani born) not for disobeying Rice but for letting a jibe at Old Walrus Face slide. Over to Captain Ed.
Khalilzad not only defied American policy, but let slide an opening comment that insulted his predecessor, John Bolton. The moderator noted in his effusive introduction of Khalilzad that among his outstanding qualities was "the further, really formidable advantage of having a name that is not John Bolton." Regardless of whether Khalilzad had prior authorization, allowing the insult to Bolton to stand unchallenged represents an insult to the United States and a lack of testicular fortitude on the part of his replacement.
I dunno, I think the moderator got that bang on. In fact, wasn't that the main reason Kalilzad got confirmation in the first place? But Ed thinks pointing out the obvious is an insult to the "American government" despite Bolton no longer being part of said government.

Poor Zalmay. He's been a loyal neocon for years and they lauded him for his work in Afghanistan and Iraq when he was up for the UN post. Back in 2006, Captain Ed himself described him as a "tough-minded fighter" just like Bolton. But let a slur on the Almighty Moustache slide and he's neocon toast. Ed now writes that Zalmay can forget ever being SecState in a future Republican administration and may not deserve his UN post. And he didn't even say the words!

No comments: