Tuesday, March 11, 2008

More on foreign policy and presidential politics

Writing for Dissent on-line, Nicolaus Mills opines a bit more about last week's dust-up involving Samantha Power's comments about Sen. Clinton. Prof. Mills disagrees with the Obama campaign's eager acceptance of her resignation and offers another, more plausible reason for the quick acceptance of her offer to resign.

Commenting on a BBC News interview Power gave while on her fateful London trip, Mills observes that perhaps this interview is the reason why her resignation was immediately accepted, maybe even sought by the campaign, whose foreign policy guru she had been until last Friday. Mills obeserves that in the interview "she spoke with a complexity that Barack Obama has not yet displayed on the campaign trail about the problems of a quick American pullout from Iraq. After explaining to her BBC interviewer that Obama’s 16-month plan for American troop withdrawal was only 'a best-case scenario,' Power went on to paint a stark picture of the practical obstacles Obama would face as president. 'He will of course not rely upon some plan that he crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US senator,' Power told the BBC. 'He will rely on a plan, an operational plan that he pulls together in consultation with people who are on the ground, to whom he doesn’t have daily access now as a result of not being the president.'" This should do away with any charges of naïveté on her part and show the realism that foreign policy requires whether we like it or not.

In other not so good foreign policy news, Admiral William Fallon, commander of U.S. Central Command suddenly announced his retirement today. In all likelihood the reason he retired was because he found all the saber rattling with regard to Iran unhelpful to on-going efforts to stabilize the Middle East in the wake of our Iraqi adventure and was urging immediate reductions in U.S. forces. This apparently put him at odds with some in the Administration, though, oddly enough, not his immediate boss, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who is also an eminently reasonable person and who, I believe, was very sad to see Fallon's departure.

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