Another baller joins the cabinet

What does Barack Obama’s just-named Education Secretary Arne Duncan have in common with National Security Advisor Jim Jones, Attorney General Eric Holder, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner? Professional accomplishment? Certainly. Sound judgement? Possibly. Most importantly, they’re all great basketball players. Even 81-year-old economic advisor Paul Volcker used to play at Princeton. ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
591020_081217_obama5.jpg
591020_081217_obama5.jpg

What does Barack Obama's just-named Education Secretary Arne Duncan have in common with National Security Advisor Jim Jones, Attorney General Eric Holder, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner?

Professional accomplishment? Certainly.

Sound judgement? Possibly.

What does Barack Obama’s just-named Education Secretary Arne Duncan have in common with National Security Advisor Jim Jones, Attorney General Eric Holder, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner?

Professional accomplishment? Certainly.

Sound judgement? Possibly.

Most importantly, they’re all great basketball players. Even 81-year-old economic advisor Paul Volcker used to play at Princeton.

Duncan has a good shot at being the team’s MVP. He was co-captain of the Harvard basketball team and played professionally in Australia:

“I did not select Arne because he’s one of the best basketball players I know,” Mr Obama said yesterday. “Although I will say that I think we are putting together the best basketball-playing cabinet in American history.”

Forget engagement. Obama should just bet Iran’s right to a nuclear program on a game of half-court with Ahmadinejad’s cabinet.

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.