The good news about the appointment of USTR Bob Zoellick as Deputy Secretary of the State Department is that he is not John Bolton, currently a State undersecretary for arms control. Bolton is a rabid neo-conservative. Zoellick is a good Republican, but not a madman. Pundits were saying that if Bolton moved up to Deputy Secretary, it would be a sign of increasing neo-con influence in Rice’s State Department. By that standard, this is good news.
This is probably encouraging in looking toward Condi Rice’s tenure at State. Zoellick will be able to work with career foreign service officers, many of whom will have worked with him under Secretary Jim Baker during Bush I’s administration.
Even better news is the rumor in this Washington Post report that Undersecretary Bolton may be on his way out. I don’t know anything about his rumored replacement, Robert G. Joseph, but I don’t think he could be worse than Bolton. Bolton is an ideologue, but even worse, it’s arguable that he has badly botched non-proliferation efforts aimed at Iran and North Korea, not to mention Iraq, which turned out not to be a non-proliferation threat.