I thought it was a masterful presentation. I think Powell could have been a bit more dramatic in his style. He sometimes seemed to be racing through all of the substance. Still, the substance was very impressive. Beyond all of the obvious points about the power of his argument, I thought the impression of his argument may have been more important and influential. When you watch the Secretary of State run through the phone intercepts, the satellite photos etc. you get the sense that the United States is one serious country. We take our work seriously and we know what we’re talking about. The look on the Pakistani ambassador’s face seemed to say, “Dang! I wonder if their satellites have the goods on us too?”
The pose from the French — and it has been a pose — has been struck to suggest that the United States is a foolhardy cowboy which doesn’t have the intellectual heft to conduct serious diplomacy. I think that general myth was deeply punctured by Powell’s presentation. You simply couldn’t watch that and think America’s going off half-cocked to war in order to bolster Bush’s poll ratings etc.