Cabinet Thoughts

Nov 27, 2008 5:45pm

Writing at Slate, Fred Kaplan likes the idea of PEBO keeping on Defense Secretary Robert Gates — "the move is a stroke of brilliance—politically and substantively," Kaplan writes.

"In his nearly two years at the helm of the Pentagon," Kaplan writes, "Gates has delivered a series of speeches on the future direction of military policy. He has urged officers to recognize the shift in the face of warfare from the World War II legacy of titanic armored battles between comparably mighty foes to the modern reality of small shadow wars against terrorists and insurgents. More than that, he has called for systematic adjustments to this new reality: canceling weapons systems that aren’t suited to these kinds of wars and building more weapons that are; reforming the promotion boards to reward and advance the creative officers who have proved most adept at this style of warfare; rethinking the roles and missions of the individual branches of the armed services; siphoning some of the military’s missions, especially those dealing with "nation building," to civilian agencies."

In the New York Times, David Leonhardt takes a second look at NEC director-to-be Larry Summers, n noting that there "really is no precedent for Mr. Summers’s role. He is a former cabinet official who has also done well-received academic research on many of today’s pressing topics. Whatever his flaws, he has the kind of mind that the Obama administration will need. In the best case, Mr. Obama will encourage Mr. Summers to play the role of fearless truth teller. And Mr. Summers will be sure to surround himself with his own squad of truth tellers."

At the New Republic, Eli Lake wonders if Secretary of State nominee Hillary Clinton would clash over Israel with National Security Adviser Gen. Jim Jones (Ret.).

"In August, Israel’s leading newspaper, Ha’aretz, reported that the draft report [of a study of Palestinian security forces, written by Jones] challenged Israel’s conception of its security interests in the West Bank as being overly broad, and that the IDF in particular was too dismissive of the Palestinian security services," Lake notes. "The newspaper quoted one IDF officer as saying he expected the report would be ‘very harsh, and make Israel look very bad.’…"

In a recent interview, "Jones said that the Palestinians should be granted increasing degrees of local sovereignty over the West Bank until an independent state is born–with an emphasis on giving the Palestinians experience with governance. On Sunday, Ha’aretz reported that Jones favors dispatching a NATO force to keep the peace in the interim. That’s a plan that the Israeli government would likely fiercely resist on the grounds that the Jewish state’s defense doctrine has always spurned the presence of foreign troops on its territory and that it could be a reprise of the disasters of the U.N. mission to Lebanon.

"Now, consider his potential nemesis, Hillary Clinton. …since becoming senator, she’s been a persistent critic of Palestinian media and schooling, an issue that has traditionally been swept under the rug by the State Department and a central argument the Israeli right has used to warn against the delusions of the Oslo process. Clinton has described the teaching of anti-Israel views in Palestinian textbooks as ‘child abuse,’ and held hearings on the topic in an effort to get the Bush administration to do more on the issue.

"By focusing on the underlying tenets of Palestinian culture, Senator Clinton has in a way made common cause with the Bush administration hawks. While General Jones wants to take steps now to empower Abbas and his Fatah party to take over a Palestinian state, Clinton is asking if even the Palestinian moderates are ready to govern."

Some interesting reading…

– jpt

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus