Monday, December 01, 2008

Obama's foreign policy and national security team

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Well, here it is.

From left to right (photo: NYT) : Holder, Napolitano, Gates, Biden, Obama, Clinton, Jones, and Rice. (Links to some of our pre-nomination posts.)

Obama still needs to name his top intelligence officials.

Creature is "all for this team," but there's a big if: if this "centrist (arguably hawkish) national security team keeps the right cowed enough" to pursue a progressive foreign policy.

I tend to think Obama's foreign, military, and national security policy will be more progressive than some of the appointments (notably Gates, Jones, Hillary) would suggest.

And, as I argued last week, I don't think Obama is the sort of establishment centrist some of his progressive detractors think he is. What Obama seems to be doing here is picking the right (and, in some cases, the right right-leaning) people to pursue a liberal-progressive foreign policy (including withdrawing from Iraq, re-engaging with the U.N. and the international community, revamping the war on terror, restoring America's standing around the world, promoting energy independence, and combatting global warming). In other words, he is surrounding himself with talented people and doing what is politically necessary to achieve his objectives.

Obama: "I am confident that this team is what we need to make a new beginning for American national security."

Let's hope that it is, and that there will be.

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See my posts on Obama and Hillary as a "Team of Allies" here and here, with some additional considerations here.

See also my criticisms of Gates here and here.

For more, see:

-- Carl on Hillary, on the Clinton court, and on criticism from the left.

-- JTD's top ten things about Hillary becoming secretary of state.

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