The Nixon, Reagan, and now the George W. Bush Administrations have all had somewhat divided personalities in foreign affairs. In the Nixon Administration the contradictory impulses between warmaking and peacemaking coexisted within the same complex individual, the President himself. In the Reagan Administration George Schultz represented the peaceful traditions of the Nixon Administration and, thanks to the Iran-Contra scandal, eventually prevailed against a coterie of ideologues in the staff of the National Security Council. The Bush Administration has been almost relentlessly hard line, and after four years it lost its leading countervailing force, Colin Powell, but in the last two weeks there are weak signs of an argument inside it, as well—without any indication of a real change of course.
Richard Nixon, like his great rival John F. Kennedy, wanted more than anything else to tame the Cold War. He sought arms control with the
Reagan immediately abandoned détente and serious arms control negotiations in favor of a big arms build-up and new attempts to isolate the
The first George W. Bush Administration appeared to pit Colin Powell at State, representing the moderate Republican tradition and his own version of the Weinberger doctrine, against Donald Rumsfeld and his neocon staff at the Pentagon. With the critical help of the Vice President, Rumsfeld outmaneuvered Powell at every turn, not only convincing the President to invade Iraq before Powell even knew the decision had been made but also preventing any progress in negotiations with North Korea, Iran, and on the Taiwan Straits. As National Security Adviser Condolezza Rice does not seem to have done anything to change the balance. The neoconservatives apparently assumed that a quick victory over
The President made headlines this week for apologizing for some of his