Obama’s 300

Elizabeth Bumiller has along story in today’s New York Times about Obama’s foreign policy team.  This appears to be an obligatory story about Democratic nominees — there was a similar story about Kerry four years ago. So what’s the difference this time around?  Ah, Bumiller has answers:  Most of the core members of his team served ...

Elizabeth Bumiller has along story in today's New York Times about Obama's foreign policy team.  This appears to be an obligatory story about Democratic nominees -- there was a similar story about Kerry four years ago. So what's the difference this time around?  Ah, Bumiller has answers:  Most of the core members of his team served in government during President Bill Clinton’s administration and by and large were junior to the advisers who worked on Mrs. Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic nomination. But they remain in charge within the campaign even as it takes on more senior figures from the Clinton era, like two former secretaries of state, Madeleine K. Albright and Warren Christopher, and are positioned to put their own stamp on the party’s foreign policy. Most of them, like the candidate they are working for, distinguished themselves from Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy camp by early opposition to the Iraq war. They also tend to be more liberal and to emphasize using the “soft power” of diplomacy and economic aid to try to advance the interests of the United States. Still, their positions fall well within centrist Democratic foreign policy thinking, and none of the deep policy fissures that have divided the Republicans into two camps, the neoconservatives and the so-called pragmatists, have opened.... Mr. Obama’s Republican rival, Senator John McCain of Arizona, has a far smaller and looser foreign policy advisory operation, about 75 people in all, and none are organized into teams. In 2004, the Democratic presidential nominee, Senator John Kerry, had a foreign policy structure similar in scale to Mr. Obama’s, but it had limited influence on the candidate, who had spent 20 years in the Senate, former advisers said.  Take that for what you will.   

Elizabeth Bumiller has along story in today’s New York Times about Obama’s foreign policy team.  This appears to be an obligatory story about Democratic nominees — there was a similar story about Kerry four years ago. So what’s the difference this time around?  Ah, Bumiller has answers: 

Most of the core members of his team served in government during President Bill Clinton’s administration and by and large were junior to the advisers who worked on Mrs. Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic nomination. But they remain in charge within the campaign even as it takes on more senior figures from the Clinton era, like two former secretaries of state, Madeleine K. Albright and Warren Christopher, and are positioned to put their own stamp on the party’s foreign policy. Most of them, like the candidate they are working for, distinguished themselves from Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy camp by early opposition to the Iraq war. They also tend to be more liberal and to emphasize using the “soft power” of diplomacy and economic aid to try to advance the interests of the United States. Still, their positions fall well within centrist Democratic foreign policy thinking, and none of the deep policy fissures that have divided the Republicans into two camps, the neoconservatives and the so-called pragmatists, have opened…. Mr. Obama’s Republican rival, Senator John McCain of Arizona, has a far smaller and looser foreign policy advisory operation, about 75 people in all, and none are organized into teams. In 2004, the Democratic presidential nominee, Senator John Kerry, had a foreign policy structure similar in scale to Mr. Obama’s, but it had limited influence on the candidate, who had spent 20 years in the Senate, former advisers said. 

Take that for what you will.   

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner

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