The loss of Deputy Secretary of State Bob Zoellick should not be overestimated. It isn’t clear that Zoellick was being put to good use by SecState Condi Rice, which was one reason Zoellick began looking outside of the State Department about four months ago, if not a bit earlier.
We hear that Zoellick lobbied for the Treasury Secretary’s job, which ended up going to to the boss of the shop where Zoellick is now going, Goldman. When it became clear that Zoellick wasn’t in line for that job, he began looking outside of the administration. There has long been talk that Zoellick felt he was being underutilized and, when he was being utilized, utilized poorly. Instead, Rice was turning to career State Department hack Nick Burns (he being the face of the Clinton administration-era State Department).
Zoellick should go down as one of the key contributors to what successes the Bush administration had related to expanding free trade around the world. He was a classy, disciplined and innovative thinker on the global scene and he will be missed.
Rumors are now flying that current deputy Treasury Secretary Bob Kimmitt may be in line for Zoellick’s post.