The Associated Press is reporting that Barack Obama will announce Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State this Monday. ABC News reports that the entire national security team will be announced Monday. ABC News reports on the makeup of the team:
Pending Senate confirmation, the President-elect’s national security team will include: Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who will serve as Secretary of State in his administration; Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano who will be Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; attorney Eric Holder, Attorney General; Retired Marine General Jim Jones, National Security Adviser; retired Adm. Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence; Susan Rice, Ambassador to the United Nations; and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who will stay on in that role for at least a year.
With Jim Jones, Hillary Clinton and Bob Gates in the three most important national security positions, Barack Obama has a foreign policy team that any Republican would approve of. Barack Obama is keeping George W Bush’s Defense Secretary, appointing as his National Security Advisor someone who campaigned with John McCain, and is putting someone at the State Department who has publicly threatened to obliterate Iran. The progressive Left has discovered a new mantra for explaining this apparent shift to the right on foreign policy: it is not the people who Obama appoints that matters, it is the policy that he executes. I hope those making that argument are right. But, it seems to me that if you surround yourself with a team of advisors who are all hawkish, you are liable to get hawkish advice. In the face of such hawkish advice, it seems silly to ignore all of it and chart a foreign policy course that is independent of all the advice you are getting from your advisors.
Let us hope that, in spite of who is manning the fort, Obama somehow manages to take US foreign policy in a direction away from the ditch George W Bush has put us in. Back in May, Obama said this of Clinton’s bluster on Iran:
"It’s not the language we need right now, and I think it’s language reflective of George Bush," Obama told NBC’s "Meet the Press."
Let us hope that our new Secretary of State will heed her President’s advice. Still, I am not encouraged. If Obama’s foreign policy team is some brilliant head fake to give him political cover to break new ground, he sure fooled me.