Tuesday, December 2, 2008

PEBO National Security Team Announced

As expected, PEBO announced his team yesterday, and it is a group of relatively moderate adults. I think that the choice of General Jones as National Security Adviser is probably the weak link in this chain--not that I think the General is not capable of doing the job, but that I think the job (if done correctly) demands more of a consigliare or conciliator than a command figure. The NSA needs to make trains run on time, needs to make sure the National Security decision making apparatus functions smoothly. He or she has power and authority, but only that given by the President. Given Mr. Gates' (and Mrs. Clinton for that matter) thorough lack of political loyalty to PEBO, I think the NSA is going to have to be deft in handling disagreements between State and Defense. Putting that aside, these are substantial people who have all the requisite skills and power bases to get things done. Like his economic team, the national security team shows PEBO tacking to the center and distancing himself more and more from the fringes of his party.


Anonymous said...

I would go a bit further on the Jones nomination. That is to say that PEBO has set up a team that will demand his intervention on foreign policy decisions. In that regard I think he's in over his head. Jones will be marginalized alongside Hil and Gates and probably even pushed around by them. I give him a year at most. Maybe he'll go with Gates.

Anonymous said...

That's a fair point on the NSA. For what it's worth, word on the street is that both Clinton and Gates only agreed to accept their postings with the promise of unfettered access. After winning as many votes as she did in the primary, Senator Clinton has enough political pull that you can't really staff her out, and Secretary Gates doesn't want to feel like he's keeping a chair warm for Richard Danzig. Both of these personalities are too big to staff out to a consigliare-model NSA.

Given the size of the personalities involved, I suspect Obama's going to have to invest a lot of his own personal time being the good cop managing the professional relationship between the SecDef and SecState. Rahm Emanuel will be the bad cop. True story: the first time Tony Blair came to the White House during the Clinton administration after being named Prime Minister of the UK, Rahm's last words of advice to the PM before his joint press conference with Pres. Clinton were: "This is important. Don't f--k it up." The point is, I don't care if it's Secretary Gates or Senator Clinton or Jesus Christ, there is no one on God's green earth that Rahm won't tell to f--k off and get back in line.

Mudge said...

speaking of frictions between state and defense, cw, did you ever read the paper i believe someone at ndu wrote entitled: state is from venus, defense is from mars? it cleverly and absolutely nails the two cultures and helps explain so much of the friction each of us who has worked in interagency positions has witnessed. a fun read if you can find it.

wahooligan said...

I anxiously await to read the perspecttives here... not being a foreign policy/international relations/public policy guy, I know that I can always gain an education here... thanks Gentlemen for the insights.

Newer Post Older Post Home