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The New National Security Presence

Today we’ll see President-elect
Obama’s team
announced, beginning the great shift away from Bush-Cheney.


The shift would create a greatly expanded corps of diplomats and aid workers
that, in the vision of the incoming Obama administration, would be engaged
in projects around the world aimed at preventing conflicts and rebuilding
failed states. However, it is unclear whether the financing would be shifted
from the Pentagon; Mr. Obama has also committed to increasing the number of
American combat troops. Whether they can make the change — one that
Mr. Obama started talking about in the summer of 2007, when his candidacy
was a long shot at best — “will be the great foreign policy experiment
of the Obama presidency,” one of his senior advisers said recently.

The adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized
to speak publicly, said the three have all embraced “a rebalancing of
America’s national security portfolio” after a huge investment
in new combat capabilities during the Bush years. [...]

Much to praise in these goals, especially rebuilding failed states. But prevention instead of preemption sounds like a present to the gods to me.

Then there is Admiral
Mullen
:


Mullen came away with what he wanted: a view of the next president as a non-ideological
pragmatist
who was willing to both listen and lead. After the meeting,
the chairman “felt very good, very positive,” according to Mullen
spokesman Capt. John Kirby. [...]

The words in bold is the message from Obama, a “water’s edge” message to national
security. It’s a plan to obviously do what’s best for American interests, understanding
that our reach is global, but not unlimited and certainly not ideological with Obama as commander in chief.

More than one person out there should be sharing Kevin Drum’s hat, though it’s unlikely the others have the class.

Beginnings are critical, impressions even more so, especially with a man coming into the White House
who campaigned on getting out of Iraq, applying diplomacy to Iran and talking to our
enemies, while committing to Afghanistan anew, whether that indeed means limited troop increase, Taliban negotiations, and NATO making deals, or a combination of all three. Obama’s change message on national
security couldn’t be clearer.

That Obama’s picking known talents, people who in 20th
century language would also be seen as hawkish, also plays into Obama’s plans.
He’s covered all of his bases, opening up a wide playing field for himself. Gates to be at Defense when Obama begins the Iraqi troop redeployment. Jones as national security advisor if Obama shifts more energy towards Afghanistan, at a time when NATO allies are showing weariness of the fight there. Clinton at State to talk tough and begin the reach out, including on Iran while balancing Israeli needs, before Obama is at the table. But that they’re all on board with Obama’s goal of “rebalancing” our national security priorities should be the crowning bit of good news that brings music to everyone’s ears.


But the adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said the three have all embraced “a rebalancing of America’s national security portfolio” after a huge investment in new combat capabilities during the Bush years.

Now that would be real change.

A very smart man is coming to town.

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