...from Tony Harnden, U.S. editor of the UK Telegraph, on today's departure of General James Jones as National Security Advisor, and his replacement by Tom Donilon. Mr. Harnden calls it "10 Reasons to be Worried" (about the appointment), and with good reason. Some of those reasons are listed below:
-- Donilon has a poor relationship with Bob Gates, the Pentagon chief. Gates has issued a statement lauding his “very productive and very good working relationship” with Donilon. But Bob Woodward reported that Gates once told Jones that Donilon would be a “disaster” as National Security Adviser. Gates, Washington’s Mr Steady, is hardly likely to have used that word lightly. This appointment could hasten the departure of Gates, already due in 2011.
-- Donilon has “no credibility” with the US military. Again according to Woodward, Donilon has fractious relations with the US military, with Pentagon officials complaining of “condescension” and Jones telling him: “You have no credibility with the military.”
And our favorite...
-- Donilon is close to Joe Biden. Biden has got it wrong on just about every major foreign policy issue in modern times. Enough said.
To be fair, Mr. Obama has every right to appoint Donilon to the post. And, more than a few former presidents have named political cronies as national security advisers. But the results of those appointments have been less-than-impressive results. Al Qaida stepped up its attacks on U.S. interests while Sandy Berger was advising Bill Clinton, and William Clark was on the job when President Reagan ordered U.S. Marines to Beirut.
This time around, the stakes are decidedly higher, and Mr. Donilon is clearly the wrong man for the job, at the wrong time.
To be fair, Obama has a problem.
A good national security adviser is somebody who has a good, close relationship with the president, and who understands national security.
Obama seems incapable of building a genuinely close relationship with anybody remotely substantive on national security matters (Joe Biden doesn't count).
Ergo, he has a choice between somebody he doesn't know well and won't like, but who knows what he's doing (Jones), or somebody who he knows well but is relatively clueless (Donilon).
He's failed at the first, and now he has to try the second.
(He's failed at the first, and now he has to try the second.)
Everyone is jumping ship and going over the sides like rats jumping from a sinking ship. Obama is over and won't last another election. Most know it and are seeking to gain as much distance as they can so his lunacy doesn't rub off on them. All it is now is a waiting and positioning game.
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