WASHINGTON — For all the recent attention paid to the hawkish circle of foreign policy intellectuals around Mayor Giuliani, the Giuliani campaign's version of Condoleezza Rice is a retired career foreign service officer who once worked as an aide to U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali.
Meet Charles Hill, the former executive assistant to Secretary of State Shultz, who is the Giuliani campaign's chief foreign policy adviser. The campaign says that in the coming days and weeks, the Yale University professor will be setting up meetings with journalists and interviews with television outlets to get the campaign's message across on matters of war and peace.
The move in part is a response to what Mr. Giuliani's campaign sees as a series of inaccurate articles summing up the candidate's foreign policy brain trust as a collection of particularly hawkish neoconservatives, such as the editor at large of Commentary, Norman Podhoretz, who is one of 12 members of the campaign's senior foreign policy team.
"I don't know of a single person on the campaign besides Norman who is a self-identified, card carrying member of this neocon cabal with its secret handshakes," Mr. Hill said in an interview. He praised Mr. Podhoretz in the interview, but made sure also to draw at one point a distinction between the former editor's view that all diplomatic options with Iran were exhausted and that of the candidate, Mr. Giuliani.
"Norman's view is that no sanction will work, that it is a mistake to think they will and action needs to be taken as soon as logistically possible," he said. Mr. Hill then began reading from Mr. Giuliani's remarks last week where he praised the White House decision to impose new sanctions on Iran on the chance "they'll appeal to other people in Iran other than Ahmadinejad, who appears to be extremely unreasonable."
Mr. Hill added, "Norman's position is unique to Norman and it's well thought out. It is not a far out, radical position and it is deeply felt and held intellectually, but it is unique to him. Rudy Giuliani has Rudy Giuliani's view."
Mr. Podhoretz did not object to those words. He said, "I have told a million people that I don't speak for Giuliani. I express my views mainly through email communications to the foreign policy team. Rudy is free to accept or reject them. As for bombing Iran I don't know whether he agrees with me, and I don't wish to know. He has repeatedly said we can't allow the Iranians to develop nuclear weapons and that force should not be taken off the table."
Like President Bush and Senator Clinton, Mr. Giuliani has said repeatedly that military options remain on the table with regard to Iran, but Mr. Hill said yesterday the mayor and the campaign by no means believed other options such as sanctions were exhausted.
Mr. Hill yesterday said he was frustrated in particular with a New York Times story last week on the Giuliani campaign that he said exaggerated and distorted the influence of some foreign policy advisers, such as Daniel Pipes, Mr. Podhoretz and Michael Rubin. "The subtext seems to be war crazy neocons have captured the campaign and that is a distortion. Even the run down of the featured people is not accurate and I think the reporter had to know that," he said.
For example, Mr. Pipes is not officially an adviser to the campaign. Mr. Hill said he received one memo from him back in the spring, but that Mr. Pipes does not participate in the weekly conference call he hosts on Monday or belong to any of the foreign policy groups that draft memos for the candidate. "He is invited to send things to the campaign. We have not announced him, he has no formal role in the advising of the campaign," Mr. Hill said of Mr. Pipes. Mr. Pipes yesterday only said, "I am not supposed to talk about this. They have not formally announced my name." In August Mr. Pipes emailed a reporter for Harper's, Ken Silverstein, saying he was an adviser to the campaign.
"This is a non-ideological approach that we take," Mr. Hill said. "We have done everything we can to avoid and resist labels. It is a center right group of people with a wide range of thoughts and ideas." Mr. Hill pointed to other senior advisers on the campaign such as the historian of Stalin's Russia, Robert Conquest, who has worked as both an adviser to Margaret Thatcher and a mentor of Christopher Hitchens.
Mr. Hill himself is also hard to pigeonhole. A former student of his at Yale, who wrote his biography: "The Man on Whom Nothing was Lost: The Grand Strategy of Charles Hill," Molly Worthen, said Mr. Hill's work at Yale and his class on Grand Strategy focuses in large part on saving the international state system many critics of neoconservatives accuse their adversaries of trying to wreck.
Mr. Hill's worldview aligns, however, with today's hawks in that he sees militant Islam as the primary threat to the international order. "Most of what he has written is based on this idea that he touts out again and again, since 1648 the world has functioned according to the international state system, that system is breaking down and that is the nature strategically speaking of this new threat of Islamofascism," Ms. Worthen said.
Ms. Worthen also said that Mr. Hill's time in the Foreign Service and serving in Tel Aviv resulted in his admiration for Jewish nationalism, an admiration not universally shared by American diplomats who have served in the Jewish state.
"He was very informed by his experience in Israel and his deep, deep sympathy for the Israelis, not based on their political situation, but a very existential empathy for their national philosophy and their culture, which he perceives as honest and manly, really for standing for something that is good and true about the human race," she said.