Saturday, January 08, 2005

CAFTA negotiator moves on

Jane Bussey, writing in the Miami Herald, gathers speculation as to what the nomination of Robert Zoellick to the No. 2 spot at State will mean for CAFTA. Some she interviews think it will delay and complicate an expected May vote in Congress, but others think it will give him even more clout to lobby for the measure. Weighing in for the former view:
''Zoellick's style and the kind of agreements that he has negotiated have so polarized the Congress that his leaving now is just the latest problem regarding the possibility of ever passing CAFTA,'' said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch.
Either way, Jim Lobe at Inter Press Service, finds the appointment to be somewhat reassuring to those who had expected the neocons to take over. He notes that Zoellick is the most internationalist-minded of Bush's cabinet at the moment, and at State will be "perfectly positioned to argue the realists' case that Washington can ill afford new military adventures and unilateral actions that alienate it yet further from its traditional allies (or oil producers and potential rivals with huge dollar reserves)." Zoellick, who was also seen as top candidate to take over as World Bank president, would also be in line to take over State should Condi bail early over the next four years.

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