Obama’s Foreign Policy – Problems from Within & John Bolton’s Wisdom Proves True

December 10, 2008


NYT reported that Obama would announce Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and Susan Rice as UN Ambassador.  BUT – “To reinforce his intention to work more closely with the United Nations after the tensions of President Bush’s tenure, Mr. Obama plans to restore the ambassador’s post to cabinet rank.  (Although the cabinet has 15 department heads, a president can give other positions the same rank for the duration of his administration).

John Bolton’s Wisdom: it is unwise to elevate the position to the cabinet.

– “One, it overstates the role and importance the U.N. should have in U.S. foreign policy,” Mr. Bolton said. “Second, you shouldn’t have two secretaries in the same department.” (NYT 11/30/08). 

– Cabinet rank creates the potential for bureaucratic conflict, especially with the State Department. Bolton also questioned whether the U.N. — whose culture he says is “impervious to change” — should be so central to U.S. foreign policy. (USA Today 12/1/08)



Secretary of State pick Hillary Rodham Clinton and potential U.N. envoy Susan Rice, whose post Obama will elevate to a cabinet position, separately visited the agency’s headquarters in Washington.

– Officials said Rice wants to install her own transition team inside the State Department.

John Bolton was right.  Such a move by an incoming U.N. ambassador is rare, even unprecedented, because the job is based at the United Nations in New York, where Rice already has a small transition staff.  Prior to Obama’s decision, the UN Ambassador fell under the authority of the Secretary of State.  Now it looks like the “team of rivals” approach will wind up splitting American diplomacy, with potentially destructive results.  What Rice did was effectively place a shot across Clinton’s bow and already stepping on her turf.  Now, this is even before BHO is sworn in.  Can’t wait to see what other schisms arise on the foreign policy issues between a very young and strong-headed Rice v. “don’t mess with me  & get your a&& out of my kitchen” Secretary Hillary.

– Polymath 3


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