Does Karen Hughes Resignation Signal A Strike On Iran?

This resignation raises a red flag which cannot be ignored. I hope I’™m wrong but I’™ve learned not to bet against the Bush administration when it comes to cowboy diplomacy. The fact that Hughes is walking away from her hospitality assignment leads me to believe George Bush is once again running around the White House sporting a half-cocked handgun in his spanking new holster’¦you know’¦the one Dick Cheney told him to strap on.

Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

Tea leaf reading is clearly not an exacting science’¦but if I were asked to interpret the announced resignation of longtime Bush crony Karen Hughes, I would conclude that it signals the likelihood that stealth president Dick Cheney has succeeded in convincing his presidential placeholder, George W. Bush, to launch a strike on Iran prior to packing up the U-Hauls in January of 2009. I’™ll explain my rationale following some excerpts from the Associated Press article.

WASHINGTON – Karen Hughes, who led efforts to improve the U.S. image abroad and was one of President Bush’™s last remaining advisers from the close circle of Texas aides, will leave the government at the end of the year.

Hughes told The Associated Press that she plans to quit her job as undersecretary of state and return to Texas, although improving the world’™s view of the United States is a ‘œlong-term challenge’ that will outlast her.

‘œThis will take a number of years,’ Hughes said in an interview Tuesday.

Bush and Rice had picked Hughes two years ago to retool the way the United States sells its policies, ideals and views overseas. A former television reporter and media adviser, Hughes’™ focus has been to change the way the United States engages and responds to criticism or misinformation in the Muslim world.

‘œNegative events never help,’ Hughes said when asked how events like last month’™s shooting of Iraqi civilians by private U.S. security guards in Iraq affects the way the world sees the United States.

Polls show no improvement in the world’™s view of the U.S. since Hughes took over. A Pew Research Center survey earlier said the unpopular Iraq war is a persistent drag on the U.S. image and has helped push favorable opinion of the United States in Muslim Indonesia, for instance, from 75 percent in 2000 to 30 percent last year.

Hughes said the Iraq war was usually the second issue that Muslims and Arabs raised with her, after the long-standing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Hughes said she advised Bush and Rice two years ago that U.S. help in ending the six-decade old fight over Israel would probably do more than anything else to improve the U.S. standing worldwide.

Hughes is serving her second stint in the Bush administration’¦this time assigned a task that she concedes will not be achieved in short order and that will undoubtedly remain a challenge for the President’™s successor.

More telling is Hughes assessment of the prevailing obstacle to improving the U.S. image’¦especially in the Middle East region and the Muslim world. As noted in the above excerpt, Hughes has told the administration that the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict serves as the primary impediment to reversing the slipping view of America.

I took note of the fact that Hughes made this remark to the President and his current Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, two years ago. I interpret the statement to suggest there was a meeting of the minds at the time she offered this assessment and agreed to take the job.

Today, I believe her resignation may well indicate a shift in the thinking of the President’¦one that would make Hughes’™ task virtually impossible and therefore lead her to conclude it better to leave now rather than later. I suspect the event which would lead Hughes to an abrupt departure is knowledge of the administration’™s plan to strike Iran.

Let me explain my reasoning. Given the anti-Israeli rhetoric of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a strike upon Iran would be seen as a defense of Israel and a affirmation of the assertions that Israel and the United States have no real intentions of establishing an independent Palestinian state. Such a strike would further fuel the anger at Israel and the United States and make it virtually impossible for Hughes to maintain the credibility necessary to pursue the mending of the American image.

As such, rather than wait for the terse and inevitable repudiations, Hughes has chosen to jump ship prior to a strike which would almost certainly unravel any progress she has been able to achieve. I also don’™t believe Hughes would have returned to the Bush administration with any intention of leaving prior to the end of the President’™s second term.

Adding support to my speculation is the fact that Josh Bolton advised White House senior aides that if they were to stay past Labor Day they would be obliged to serve till the end of the President’™s second term. The fact that Hughes is leaving regardless of that directive must indicate changing circumstances have created an untenable situation. Lastly, the fact that Hughes has long been regarded as one the George Bush’™s most loyal supporters makes the resignation all the more suspect.

Obviously my hypothesis is little more than anecdotal. Notwithstanding, this resignation raises a red flag which cannot be ignored. I hope I’™m wrong but I’™ve learned not to bet against the Bush administration when it comes to cowboy diplomacy. The fact that Hughes is walking away from her hospitality assignment leads me to believe George Bush is once again running around the White House sporting a half-cocked handgun in his spanking new holster’¦you know’¦the one Dick Cheney told him to strap on.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007 by Richard Blair |

No Comments

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI