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Foreign Policy by Committee
Posted by: McQ on Friday, July 18, 2008

Everyone ought to have advisers. Especially politicians. But how many is too many? When do you reach the point when it becomes apparent you have no real foreign policy and are casting about for help in developing one? Call me silly, but probably when it becomes news that your foreign policy advisory corps consists of 300:
One recent Q. & A. asked, for example, whether Mr. Obama supported the decision by Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, to include a timetable for American troop withdrawal in any new security agreements with the United States. The answer, provided to Mr. Obama with bullet points, was yes — or “a genuine opportunity,” as he put it in a speech on Iraq this week.

Behind the e-mail messages is a tight-knit group of aides supported by a huge 300-person foreign policy campaign bureaucracy, organized like a mini State Department, to assist a candidate whose limited national security experience remains a concern to many voters.
Yes indeed, it provided the candidate an answer to a sticky foreign affairs question to which he had no ready answer. But what is his foreign policy? And without some direction, how does someone who has no national security experience (I'll not be a generous as the NY Times and claim he has "limited" experience) whatsoever?

How does he break anything out of the clutter? And how does his dependence on this coterie of advisers speak to his leadership. It instead appears to be a group who is there to ensure he doesn't screw up and say something stupid.

But other than his outdated stance on Iraq and his insistence that he'd abandon it post-haste upon his assumption of the presidency, what is Barack Obama's foreign policy. We know he'd talk with dictators with no preconditions, but what does that mean in terms of a coherent foreign policy? We know he wants everyone to love us again, but what does that mean in terms of a coherent foreign policy.

It is going to be interesting to monitor his European and Middle Eastern tour to see if he and his 300 advisers can come up with something in the foreign policy arena which is specific, coherent and makes sense. My guess is we see pep rallies vs. anything substantive.
 
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It instead appears to be a group who is there to ensure he doesn’t screw up and say something stupid.
That’s certainly what it stinks of. But…
How does he break anything out of the clutter? And how does his dependence on this coterie of advisers speak to his leadership.
When I first heard of this, I thought the same thing. But if there were some kind of echalon, some kind of pyramid scheme of advisors to where team members reported to higher team members who reported to higher team members who reported to Obama, then that would be a good thing. More information makes for better decisions, no?
And from what I gather from the story is that it’s just that,
“It is unwieldy, no question,” said Denis McDonough, 38, Mr. Obama’s top foreign policy aide, speaking of an infrastructure that has been divided into 20 teams based on regions and issues, and that has recently absorbed, with some tensions, the top foreign policy advisers from Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign. “But an administration is unwieldy, too. We also know that it’s messier when you don’t get as much information as you can.”

Mr. Obama’s infrastructure funnels hundreds of e-mail messages and reams of position papers and talking points each day to members of the core group, who in turn seek advice or make requests for more information to team members down the line.

One person who is not a team leader — and who was not included in a 13-member “senior working group” that the Obama campaign announced last month — is Richard Holbrooke, a United Nations ambassador under Mr. Clinton who was mentioned as a potential secretary of state if Mrs. Clinton had won the presidency.
One can have too much advice, sure. But if the information and opinions gathered by this large group funneled upward to a “13 member senior working group” that would give immediate advice, that doesn’t sound bad at all. As long as the immediate group had good judgment of course.

As we know, GWB may have listen to the wrong advisors regarding foreign policy. And it would seem that these advisors that got it so wrong failed to listen to those in the lower echelon in the State dept. and elsewhere.

Too many advisors? Maybe.
But as long as the advisors immediate to Obama had good judgment, then the more information they receive, the better.

Right?
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Too many advisors? Maybe.
But as long as the advisors immediate to Obama had good judgment, then the more information they receive, the better.

Right?
You were asleep thru the Carter years, Jimmuh the Blessed Great-Souled One was INUNDATED with information, and it swamped him.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
supported by a huge 300-person foreign policy campaign bureaucracy
Just another bloated government organization for Obama. Nothing to see here. Move along.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
the more . . . the better.
Pogue, are you saying size does matter?
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Dude, I was too worried about things like that punk kid Tommy Barrister taking my bicycle during the Carter years. And I’m sure I napped often.
Ahhh… I miss childhood. Beats waking up at 3:00 am to pee.


But I take it you’re not a fan of having all the information one could have?

Would you prefer a president like this?
Russ Cargill: Anyone can pick something when they know what it is; It takes real leadership to pick something you’re clueless about.
President Schwarzenegger: Ok, I pick 3!
Russ Cargill: Try again.
President Schwarzenegger: 1!
Russ Cargill: Go higher.
President Schwarzenegger: 5?
Russ Cargill: Too high.
President Schwarzenegger: 3?
Russ Cargill: You already said 3.
President Schwarzenegger: 6?
Russ Cargill: There is no 6.
President Schwarzenegger: 2?
Russ Cargill: Double it.
President Schwarzenegger: 4!
Russ Cargill: As you wish, sir.
Heh…
Now that’s good stuff.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Pogue, are you saying size does matter?
Fortunately, that dilemma has never presented itself to me. I’m not boasting… let’s just say that I’ve never received complaints.

Hey… You asked. :)

Heh.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
let’s just say that I’ve never received complaints.
Actually, that’s a lie. There was Melissa Tanner.

But come on Melissa Tanner!? For heaven’s sake… She was so… Well let’s just say one could pilot the Nimitz through that sinkhole.

‘Nuff said.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
I thought Obama stated that he doesn’t need andy foreign policy help .. he can do it himself.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
But come on… Melissa Tanner!?
Just curious.

LOL
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Well I could tell you some stories over a pint. But if that never happens, and if you find yourself in OKC, just find a seedy bar and ask any given patron about "the mistress" and odds are you’ll get similar stories.

But if anyone answers to "the mistress"
...

Run away..., run away!
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
By the time Obama is finished throwing various advisors under the bus, he’ll be left with a workable core group.

He’s gotta winnow the number down
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://

 
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