Friday, January 28, 2005

# Posted 6:57 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND PAUL WOLFOWITZ: What follows is just one liberal Democrat's opinion:
I want you to know how much I have appreciated the way in which you have conducted your relationship with this subcommittee.

I think in many ways it has been a model of executive-legislative relations. I think you have contributed in a very significant way to a bipartisan consensus on many of the important issues...

I think America's interests have been effectively served by that approach, and we have found your insights, your wisdom, your views, your experience to be enormously helpful to our subcommitee as we have gone about discharging our own responsibilities.

If we have not always agreed on every issue, I think that is only to be expected. What is truly amazing is how many issues we have agreed on. I think what it demonstrates is that when you have people in the administration and in Congress who are willing to work together in pursuit of the national interest, that it is in fact possible to forge the kind of consensus which is in the best interests of the Nation.
To which Wolfowitz responded:
I, too, would like to say that the experience of working with this subcommitee and with the Congress as a whole over the last several years has been a very rewarding one and it has been a productive one. I think it has certainly served the national interest...

It is a tough commitee to appear before because the questions are always well informed and very often pointed. It is a challenge. It think it keeps us on our toes in ways you do not appreciate in our day-to-day management of affairs back in the State Deparment.
That reference there to Foggy Bottom may have tipped you off. The previous exchange between Rep. Stephen Solarz (D-NY) and Monsieur Wolfowitz took place on February 20, 1986, back when Wolfowitz was Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia. The commitment of both men to fighting communism by promoting democracy led to a remarkable degree of productive cooperation, of the kind we would most certainly benefit from today.

If you want to read more, the full transcript of the hearing before Solarz's subcommittee should be available at any major research library. The title of the hearing (which you can enter into a library search engine) was "The Philippine Election and the Implications for U.S. Policy." The quotations above are from pages 54 and 56, respectively.

UPDATE: Reader GR points to this letter-to-the-editor, co-authored by Wolfowitz and Solarz (c. 1999) as evidence that the exchange described above
Was more like a meeting of neocon minds, with one of them still a Democrat. Sort of like a Lieberman bouquet to the administration on Iraq today.
I disagree. As I told GR, Solarz was a liberal in the mold of Truman and JFK who had a sincere interest in democracy and human rights but was not afraid of using force to achieve American objectives.

In contrast to say, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Solarz's "neo-con" leanings never led him to abandon his critical faculties when confronted by friendly Republicans. Thus, Solarz was a persistent critic of the Reagan administration who challenged its foreign interventions and became known as the author of a Democratic reponse to the Reagan doctrine, sometimes referred as (you guessed it) the Solarz Doctrine. Nonetheless, I urge to read the Solarz-Wolfowitz letter-to-the-editor and judge for yourself.
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