GWEN IFILL: For more on Powell's first weeks, we turn to: Lawrence Eagleburger, secretary of state in the first Bush administration; Susan Rice, an assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration; and Jim Hoagland, associate editor and foreign affairs columnist at The Washington Post. Jim Hoagland, how would you assess Colin Powell's first month in office?
JAMES HOAGLAND: Well, I think at home he's done fairly well. You saw from the film clip that he's been able to establish momentum, some enthusiasm at the State Department that's been lacking for a long time. Colin Powell is a man who likes to build institutions and work in institutions. And I think he's going to be a tremendous morale booster for the State Department. But I think also that carries some dangers with it in that he is raising expectations both at home and abroad to a very high level. Is he actually going to be able to squeeze more money out of Congress to get the State Department to be able to carry out its missions? I'm not sure. The Congress so far is treating him as almost a rock star, as a great celebrity.
But when it comes time to pass those budgets, will he be able to be more successful than Warren Christopher or Madeleine Albright who also made the same arguments? The second point is, he said in the clip you showed that he's going to rely on the Foreign Service; he's going to rely on institutions for his ideas, for his expertise. Institutions are not the base for very creative foreign policy. We'll see if he's able to carry that out. And really the third thing is that he is trying here to create momentum for a team. We have to look more closely at his relations with Don Rumsfeld at the Pentagon, with Dick Cheney, to find out where the center of gravity is really going to be, whether it's going to be the State Department or if the intention here is to use Colin Powell's magnetism, his very pleasing personality and charm, to sell policies rather than to develop them.
GWEN IFILL: Secretary Eagleburger, what do you make of Colin Powell's first month?
LAWRENCE EAGLEBURGER: Well, I'm a good bit less pessimistic than Mr. Hoagland. First of all I think he's done everything right so far. One month into a regime doesn't mean much, but he has taken already in a State Department where the morale was down around the basement somewhere and he's begun to rebuild that, not that the career Foreign Service will be doing everything for him. But rather that they will now be a partner again, which they used to be and which they haven't been for the better part of eight years. What he's done so far in the Middle East, what he said -- including the indications that there should be some moderation of the sanctions against Iraq -- all of those show to me a sensitivity to the region and to the concerns of the region. I will tell you, I think Colin Powell is going to turn out to be a great secretary of state. And I think he will carry the day with the Congress on the budget. I think it's going to be a great success.
GWEN IFILL: Susan Rice, what have you seen so far which has been the most encouraging about these first few weeks of Colin Powell as secretary of state and what have you seen which has been the most discouraging?
SUSAN RICE: Well, I think he's off to a strong start. His words have certainly resonated with the rank and file in the State Department. But I think Jim is absolutely right. What matters is whether he's going to be able to deliver the resources. Secretary Albright made a priority of trying to increase the programmatic as well as administrative resources available to the State Department and had some considerable success with that, working with a Republican Congress. I think there's now a real question as to whether the new secretary will be able to build on that momentum and achieve a substantially greater share of the foreign affairs and national security pie for the State Department. That's going to make e difference in the lives and the morale of the people working in the Foreign Service and the civil service in the State Department and in our ability to achieve our foreign policy goals.
GWEN IFILL: Jim Hoagland talks about his status as a rock star. What is it that he brings to this job which is different than another secretary of state would have brought?
SUSAN RICE: I think, first of all, he brings a stature of a four star general, as somebody who served as chairman of the joint chiefs, served as national security advisor. He's basically played on most of the stages that are relevant in the foreign policy sphere. Now he's at the State Department. I think the question is whether that standing, that stature, that charisma, which is indisputable, plays well not just in the halls of the State Department but in the appropriations committees on the Hill and in the full range of foreign capitals that he's going to have to do business with.
GWEN IFILL: Jim Hoagland, he also brings a wealth of military but not necessarily diplomatic experience. How does that balance itself out in this new role for him?
JAMES HOAGLAND: First, let me just clarify something for Larry Eagleburger. By raising questions I was not voicing pessimism. I just want to make that clear. I think Powell does have a chance to do all the things that Eagleburger said. It's not guaranteed. To come back to your question: History is not very helpful on this -- you take a military man like George Marshal, made a great secretary of state. And Al Haig, who got less ecstatic reviews and who, in fact, was dumped by the Reagan administration. So the military preparation itself tells us not a great deal. I think Colin Powell brings his own talents to this job and can create something really quite impressive here. I am a little concerned on this first trip in particular that he seems in some cases to be saying all things to all people. He's put an awful lot of emphasis in his Middle East trip on even-handedness, suggesting both Israelis and Palestinians are equally to blame for the situation. I don't happen to believe that. I'm not sure that that's the best American diplomatic approach to take right now. But what concerns me is that diplomacy is not simply a matter of saying nice things to everybody. It's frequently, the most important part of it at any rate, is saying very harsh things and very unnice things to people. Powell, I think, will probably get a chance to do that over his tenure. So far, he seems a little eager to please.
GWEN IFILL: How about that, Secretary Eagleburger, is that a reasonable definition of diplomacy, saying mean things to people as well as trying to be even handed as Jim Hoagland has described?
LAWRENCE EAGLEBURGER: Well, I certainly tried the former. I don't know whether it worked or not. Anyway, the fact of the matter is it's so early, I suppose we can talk about all the things that may or may not happen. The basic point I think has to be that here's a man with a tremendous breadth of experience, you don't... you aren't chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and be a poor diplomat to begin with. He will have to say some nasty things. Who knows? He may have said some nasty things in private. I certainly hope he did with the Syrians, for example.
But in the end, we're just going to have to wait a while to see. I can only tell you that on the basis of what I know about Colin Powell -- and I've known him for years -- and what I've seen so far -- which is no way to judge anything at this stage; I concede that -- from what I've seen so far I think you're going to find that he's going to be a very successful secretary of state. And that includes being able to turn the Congress around on its absolutely stupid approach to resources for the whole foreign policy area, not just the State Department, and get the kind of money out of them that's absolutely necessary if we're going to maintain, in fact, recreate a first class diplomatic establishment. And Colin Powell, I will bet you dollar to a hole in a donut, will succeed at that.
GWEN IFILL: That's interesting that you're so optimistic. You were one of Colin Powell's critics during the aftermath of the Gulf War when there was a lot of questioning going on about whether we should have stayed instead of gone. Do you think that....
LAWRENCE EAGLEBURGER: It wasn't a question of whether we should have stayed or gone. I thought we left when we should have left. Where I was critical was I felt that in the early stages of building up the military plans for the invasion itself, I thought he had been excessively cautious. I must say, having looked at it since then and having heard him say that what he was trying to do was to convince the political betters that they were going to have to invest a lot in this exercise, I'm prepared to accept that explanation. But my criticism had nothing to do with leaving. It had to do with my feeling that the military in general were too cautious in getting themselves organized to do the war itself.
GWEN IFILL: I just want to clarify that. You think he was being too much of a diplomat instead of a general then?
LAWRENCE EAGLEBURGER: No, I think he was being a legitimate general against the background of having seen what happens and happened in Vietnam, when the political betters totally misjudged everything. And all Colin Powell was trying to do, I now am prepared to concede, was to tell all of us from the president on down that if you're going to do this thing against Iraq, you must be prepared, one, to have substantial forces ready to do it; and two, you need to take into account the fact that you may take some losses. I, you know, again -- don't overdo it, please. I was critical of that at the time. I do think things could have moved faster. But in the end it was successful. And who am I to argue with success?
GWEN IFILL: Susan Rice, you worked for Madeleine Albright, you worked with Madeleine Albright. Do you have any sense from what you've been able to see watching Colin Powell over the years and in the last month how different he will be than she was in this job and what areas of the world, for instance, we can expect to see more of him in?
SUSAN RICE: Well, I think the differences are primarily stylistic. I think in substance we've seen relatively few differences, which may not be what new colleagues in the Bush administration want to hear. But I think it is reality. I don't know where they may differ in terms of priorities and emphasis. The Clinton administration, for instance, made a great deal of effort to increase the resources and the level of engagement and the seriousness with which we deal with Africa. Secretary Powell has had a couple of early meetings on Africa. He has said he'll be interested. But I think there's a real question as to whether that interest will be sustained, whether the resources will continue to increase as they did under the last years of the Clinton administration for Africa, and whether or not the other elements of the Bush administration -- from the president to the vice president and the cabinet secretaries, such as the commerce secretary, the agriculture secretary, the transportation secretaries, all of whom were very actively involved in Africa and other parts of the world will remain so. That is an important question.
GWEN IFILL: He has articulated having reasons for intervention, having a clear mission, having an exit strategy, having a vital interest at stake, would that apply to any of the nations you're talking about in Africa?
SUSAN RICE: I think it could. We have to be concerned that it could apply in the wrong sense. The Clinton administration put in place in 1994 a very rigorous review of our engagements in peacekeeping overseas. When we ought to get involved and exit strategies and achievable objectives were all of the key criteria that were enunciated. But the real issue will be when something terrible happens again, whether it's in Rwanda or Bosnia or elsewhere, will this administration be willing to put men and resources and treasure on the line to deal with it? I obviously would argue that in many cases we ought to. I think the Powell doctrine suggests the contrary. Each case is different. We'll have to see how they react.
GWEN IFILL: Jim Hoagland, what about that?
JAMES HOAGLAND: I think both Larry Eagleburger and Susan Rice have made a fundamental point that we need to look at and that is that Colin Powell is a very cautious man. I think it comes out of his military experience where he had to rebuild…. His view was he had to rebuild the army. He had to rebuild and protect the military as an institution. So I think you'll see him certainly arguing for caution. You saw a difference really in that film clip where he's speaking out on Iraq. He inherits on Iraq a failed policy from the Clinton administration. The Clinton administration in its last year really tried to keep Iraq off the front page. George W. Bush, Colin Powell have moved it back. What we will see though is a lot less talking about the Balkans where the Clinton administration intervened against some of the rules of the Powell doctrine, in my view correctly, and for good effect. I think you'll see Colin Powell backing away from the Balkans. He'll treat it pretty much as the Clinton administration treated Iraq. Watch for him to be a very cautious policy maker.
GWEN IFILL: OK, we'll check back in after maybe six months has passed and we'll pass judgment again. Larry Eagleburger, Susan Rice, Jim Hoagland, thank you very much.