Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Libby & Cheney fates linked

Jim Lobe frames Libby's sentencing yesterday in accord with some other signs that Cheney's influence on Bush is waning:

Libby's sentencing follows reports in the New York Times and elsewhere over the past week that Cheney opposes the current diplomatic route that President Bush is pursuing with Iran and instead is pushing for armed confrontation with Tehran.

Those reports prompted a denial by Cheney's office Friday, but some observers here believe that David Wurmser, Cheney's deputy national security adviser and his top Middle East aide, may soon be forced to resign. Wurmser, a radical Zionist, is reported to have shopped various war scenarios to neo-conservative think tanks outside the administration.

Another article appearing in the influential Congressional Quarterly last week suggested that Cheney condoned efforts by former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and other hawks in his department to encourage Taiwan to move toward a declaration of independence from China during Bush's first term. The story was based on charges by former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson.

Libby's sentencing also follows the loss of a number of Cheney loyalists in key positions within the administration over the past seven months, beginning with Rumsfeld's ouster last November, the resignation of U.N. Amb. John Bolton the following month, and, more recently, the departure of Bush's deputy national security adviser, J.D. Crouch.
An important angle. Lobe elaborated on some of these themes in a corresponding blog post. In the initial link above, he also runs through speculation about the possibility of Bush delivering Libby a pardon and says that could be another sign of whether Cheney is still in pole position.