Open thread on Obama's national security team

According to ABC, Barack Obama will roll out his national security team soon after this weekend.  

All indications suggest that Hillary Clinton will become secretary of state.

ABC says keeping Defense Secretary Robert Gates on for at least a year is "a done deal." Others likely to be appointed include  

Marine Gen. Jim Jones (Ret.) as National Security Adviser; Admiral Dennis Blair (Ret.) as Director of National Intelligence; and Dr. Susan Rice as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

 Todd Beeton goes over the pros and cons of keeping Gates in place.

 A lot of Obama supporters seem comfortable with this decision. If the new president keeps his promise to withdraw most of our troops from Iraq safely within 16 months, there’s an argument for sticking with someone at Defense who’s already familiar with the situation on the ground. My main concern is that Gates will strenuously argue that we need to keep a large contingent in Iraq and give Obama cover to break his campaign promise.

Looks like no one who opposed the Iraq war from the start will be in Obama’s inner circle on foreign policy.

In the unambiguously good news column, John Brennan withdrew his name from consideration to head the Central Intelligence Agency. Glenn Greenwald (among others) made the case against Brennan last week.

UPDATE: Jon Soltz, co-founder of VoteVets, argues that “the Gates pick works.”

  • Soltz has a good point

    Jon Soltz has a key point about Gates: he could leave at any time, and enjoy a nice life in the private sector.  He must want to stay and work for Obama.

    A large scale withdraw from Iraq, and a possible new deployment into Afghanistan will be tough logistical problems, so I’m glad that experienced leadership will be in place.  Gates will also provide useful political cover for Obama.

    It is probably inevitable that Iraq will overshadow everything else in the first year, but I would like to see some debate on what a Democratic defense policy would look like.  Will we terminate some of the billion dollar weapons systems like the F-22, or DDX-1000?  Will we create a reconstruction corps to rebuild failed states?  Will we continue to station forces in western Europe or Korea?  Its a new world out there, and there are lots of questions to answer.

    • or just reduce the number of nuclear warheads

      which would save billions and billions, according to the Sensible Priorities people. We’d still have enough to blow up the whole world, so no worries.

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