Monday, December 1, 2008

Obama Clinton Gates Jones Foreign Policy

I know there's been plenty of chatter lately on President-Elect Obama's foreign policy. In particular, I've heard the usual Beltway Pundits proclaim Obama must abandon his "leftist dovishness" and embrace his inner "center-right hawk" to be a "credible Commander-in-Chief". Meanwhile, I'm also seeing some progressives wail in despair over how Obama is supposedly abandoning them for "neocon-lite".

But what if both camps are wrong? What if today's revelation of the foreign policy/national security wing of the Obama Administration reveals something completely different? Hold on, because you may be surprised.

Now yes, Obama has two prominent ex-Republicans advising him. And yes, we don't even know if Defense Secretary Bob Gates and soon to be National Security Adviser Jim Jones even voted for the President-Elect. However, we need to remember that these two indivduals have never been part of the neoconservative cabal that caused so much damage in the Bush II Administration. While they're far from liberal internationalists, they do seem to hold a more pragmatic realist point of view that can help inform our next President understand the many dangers and challenges our nation faces. And if they provide "realist" reasons to support a more liberal internationalist (aka "progressive") foreign policy, more power to them.

But even above Jones and Gates, far too many so-called "progressives" seem panicked over the thought of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Why? I just don't know, other than the usual fearmongering over anything and everything "Clinton". Now I examined for myself Hillary Clinton's views on foreign policy. I found that her foreign policy is a liberal internationalist policy well within the mainstream of the Democratic Party.

So I do believe that we can get a glimpse into President Obama's foreign policy by looking at who will be on his national security team. But rather than looking at them and seeing a "neocon Obama", I see something different. Rather, I see an Obama Administration that will engage the world far differently than the current Administration has.

Honestly, it does look like Obama split the difference between realists who use diplomacy to keep threats at bay and liberal internationalists who use diplomacy to solve the world's problems. And frankly, I'm OK with it.

Why? Taylor Marsh sums it up well.

People talk about "hawkish" policies or people, but for national security focused analysts, with earned expertise over years of study, like myself, it's about America's history of strength going back to Truman that Bush-Cheney and the Republicans have made a mockery through their campaigns of fear, snubbing diplomacy for bellicose saber rattling, using the military as a threat instead of a very last resort, while undermining our moral authority by sending a message to underdeveloped nations that the rule of law across the globe is not to be respected by the most powerful.

What Obama faces in Central Asia was instigated under Ronald Reagan, which I'll leave for another time. But suffice it to say that it will take a strong team led by a 21st century mind to turn the U.S. ship of state in a new direction. Obama is that man, and today he proved he knows what it will take to get the job done through the choices of the people who will surround him.

Perhaps Obama's foreign policy team isn't wholly "progressive". Still, they're all great minds and they all agree on the value of diplomacy. Each may have a different view on diplomacy, but ultimately President Obama will be the one deciding what happens. And judging by the whole of his choices so far, I feel good about that.


ng2000 said...

Valuable resource of Hillary Clinton news summaries:

Michael said...

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