Brennan, Hagel, and Kerry: More Of The Same Failed Obama FP
As the Editors of the IntelNews wrote recently…
Obama’s National Security Nominations: Nothing to See Here
…Yet much of the commentary on the nominations of John Kerry for State, Chuck Hagel for the Pentagon, and John Brennan for the CIA, is unduly over-dramatizing what is essentially a routine story. To begin with, it is clear that, in selecting Kerry, Hagel and Brennan for the nominations, the President’s priority was to surround himself with people he knows and trusts. Knowledgeable observers point out that all three nominees come from Obama’s most trusted circle of friends and —if appointed— will allow the President to stay well “within his comfort zone” as he begins his second term in office. In this sense, Obama selected the three candidates, not with some major policy shift in mind, but in order to ensure continuity and permanence in his foreign policy…
…Even if we were to accept that Hagel is somehow “anti-Israel”, anyone who thinks that nearly seven decades of American policy on Israel are about to change because Hagel is suspicious of the Israeli lobby in the US, grossly misunderstands the institutional character of American foreign policy. The latter does not change in radical shifts; it evolves over long periods as a result of varying national or economic interests, changing conditions or the ground, or popular pressure. There is no question that Hagel, like Obama himself, is skeptical about military intervention abroad; but this fact points to continuity, not a radical shift in the administration’s policy. If Hagel’s nomination is approved by Congress, his views on Israel, or for that matter any other country or group of countries, will form but one element in a multitude of competing interests that help shape American foreign policy.
President Obama’s national security nominations are certainly noteworthy. But there is little here that is earth shattering. For the most part, the President sought individuals who will help him sustain the foreign policy of his first term in office, not radically alter it. Anyone looking for drama in these nominations will sooner or later be thoroughly disappointed.
Moar DroneZ, Bay-bee…!
Some more, McGovern… The Grilling that Brennan Deserves…
Apparently, it was a slim bench for CIA Director… Jane Harman for CIA Director? Really?
Some more on Hagel…
…Hagel will be in the wrong job to drive a fundamental recasting of the Obama administration’s Iran policy:
“I would take the president’s word that he likes and trusts former Senator Hagel, got to know him in the Senate, likes and trusts his positions and his candor on a range of issues. But I think the calculus to go ahead, and in the way that they are going ahead is that Senator Hagel, for all of the courageous positions he’s taken—on Iran, on Israel, HAMAS, lots of issues—that he will assure his fellow senators that those are positions that he held as a senator and they really will not have very much to do with his position as Secretary of Defense. Those are quintessential foreign policy issues that will be carried out by the Secretary of State and the national security adviser…
Obama now has an all-white-male [national security] cabinet. The question is how long will his national security adviser stay, Tom Donilon. And there I would put a question whether Susan Rice will be back on the scene. And she will certainly constrain Hagel’s attempts—if he has any desire to make these attempts—to change policies…[The White House]thinks that Hagel is going to a good Secretary of Defense, and do quintessentially Secretary of Defense things—not foreign policy.”
In wrapping up, Paul Pillar is right….
…So one side feels a need to crow about a victory, while the other side needs to feel that it has not been kicked in the face. To square that emotional circle, American politicians will have to get most of their triumphalist fix from what has happened already—from getting a negotiation with Iran about curtailing its nuclear program under way at all. Members of Congress can proclaim today (and when they next run for re-election) that all those votes they cast in favor of all of those sanctions were an important part of getting Iran to the negotiating table. After saying that, they should pipe down, get out of the way, and let the negotiators strike a deal.