Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Back from fishing...

...or rather a blissful week in Albuquerque for Thanksgiving with Frank's clan. Sorry for the silence of late: let's get stuck in with what's happened since.

On Hillary: (GULP) it's a good call. It says he thinks he can control the Clintons and that he cares less about their media distractions then he does about implementing his policy (as Nate has now also noted, strategy and tactics anyone?) but it should work out. I may have preferred Kerry (and dreamed of Zbig) but this is as good choice a choice as can be for those desirous of dealing both firmly and fairly with Israel and the Palestinians. Between Rahm Emanuel and Hillary Clinton the Administration has all the pro-Israeli creds it needs to broker a serious peace deal that trades the Palestinian right of return for Israeli settlements so as to create a practicable, territorially contiguous Palestinian state. Land for peace is the best guarantee of Israel's security and I think Secretary Clinton understands that.

On Jones: The most surprising cabinet pick by Obama thus far. Apparently, Obama only spoke with him at length twice during the campaign. As NATO commander Jones showed a preference for force in Afghanistan that I found surprising. Whether he has learned the lessons of the limited utility of force in that country particulalry is something I'm looking into. Still, if anyone can hold their own against Hillary in argument it's likely to be the man who once held the title Supreme Commander Allied Forces Europe - surely the only title in the world better then POTUS!

On Gates: as long as it's short term (no more then a year) then it's a good play. Puts a Republican face on Iraq troop drawdowns. That should make the GOP's fostering of a Dolchsto
├člegende more difficult. After a year though, I want Danzig to step up, not least because I want DoD to be a Democrat's domain.

On Obama's NSC: Including Eric Holder and Susan Rice in yesterday's roll out sent important messages in both policy and political terms: first, that obeying and implementing the law will be key to Obama's war on terror approach whilst re-engaging with the international community through the UN will be crucial to national security as a whole. Second, that Gates, Jones and Clinton will be balanced by two deeply loyalist voices for Obama himself in all NSC discussions. As such, Obama's own likely thinking will be reflected in the NSC from interesting angles: the Justice Department and the UN Ambassador. And that in a team of big, powerful personalities with likely conflicting agendas and counsels will leave Obama where he wants to be as, in the words of his predecessor, "The Decider".

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