The Magazine

The Long Arm of Colin Powell

Will the next secretary of state also run the Pentagon?

Dec 25, 2000, Vol. 6, No. 15 • By MATTHEW REES
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But even when adopting independent positions, Coats was not a grand-stander. Indeed, in a body full of loudmouths, he was one of the Senate's more reticent members. And former aides say he wouldn't get exercised about being overshadowed.

That's good, because whoever becomes defense secretary in a Bush administration, Powell and Cheney will be the go-to guys on defense. Thus the most telling dynamic in defense policy might well be the relationship between the secretary of state and the vice president, who haven't always seen eye-to-eye (they clashed, in particular, over how to carry out the Gulf War). In short, with Powell eager to stir the Pentagon's policy stew, would Cheney give him a free hand?

Matthew Rees is a staff writer at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.