Wednesday :: Jan 7, 2009

Miscellaneous Matters

by eriposte

Foreign Policy magazine has entered the new year with a profusion of new blogs by experts, writers and journalists on their site. Journalist Laura Rozen (War and Peace) has a new blog at Foreign Policy called The Cable. She will be reporting on national security and foreign affairs news at The Cable and already has three posts discussing what she is hearing from her contacts regarding those who are likely to be appointed to senior positions in the State Department, National Security Council, and both. Other new blogs at Foreign Policy include those of former Washington Post journalist Tom Ricks, Tufts University professor and blogger Dan Drezner, Harvard University professor Stephen Walt, GWU professor Marc Lynch, and several others. One of the other blogs is Madam Secretary by FP Editor Carolyn O'Hara. All in all, an interesting collection. (A suggestion to the Foreign Policy editorial team: With such a profusion of blogs, it is difficult and time consuming to read all of them separately (through a dozen separate clicks) - you might increase your traffic and retain your readership even more effectively if you have a single group blog view that automatically integrates the posts from all of the individual blogs. It's much easier to bookmark one blog and read all your contributors than bookmark a dozen or so separate blogs.)

A quick thought - prompted by today's front page Washington Post article quoting anonymous CIA officials who seem Deeply TroubledTM by President-Elect Sen. Obama's pick for CIA chief (DCI) Leon Panetta and the veiled threat from "several" Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Committee (yeah, that one) Democrats who apparently made clear that "they expect CIA Deputy Director Stephen R. Kappes and Intelligence Director Michael Morell, the agency's No. 3 official, to be retained for continuity and experience". Let me say for the record that I personally think Leon Panetta might in fact be a good DCI. While I have some questions about how he would handle intelligence matters, I feel a bit reassured knowing that Scott Horton is pleased both with the Panetta pick for DCI as well as the Blair pick for DNI. Horton says he highly respects the view of Milt Bearden, who is quoted by Laura at The Cable (emphasis mine):

Retired CIA deputy director for the East Europe division Milt Bearden said Panetta is a "brilliant" choice. "It is not problematic that Panetta lacks experience in intelligence," Bearden e-mailed. "Intel experience is overrated. Good judgement, common sense, and an understanding of Washington is a far better mix to take to Langley than the presumption of experience in intelligence matters. Having a civilian in the intelligence community mix is, likewise, a useful balance. Why not DNI?"

Makes sense to me. (Former senior CIA official Paul Pillar is also quoted by Laura and he seems a bit disappointed that Michael Hayden won't continue as DCI, but there are others cited in her blog post who are fine with the pick).

Since we're talking about nominees, let me add that I've been pleasantly surprised by some of President-Elect Obama's cabinet appointments so far. Many are truly outstanding (including his nominee for heading the very important Office of Legal Counsel - which partly mitigates my concern over Obama's personal friend Eric Holder, a very good nominee as far as I can tell, being his pick for Attorney General) and others are pretty good. On balance, I don't have any major concerns with his nominees and this makes me cautiously optimistic that he is setting the stage for sound public policy. Also, his picks seem to be fairly consistent with how he said he would govern.

eriposte :: 5:31 AM :: Comments (2) :: Digg It!