TV news commentator Chris Matthews of MSNBC described it well. Obama's new "National Security team is a bit left of Bush." After listening to Obama introduce the new team Matthews remarked that the new president was not going to be an isolationist like 1972 presidential candidate George McGovern was when he said he was going to "bring America home." Obama, said Matthews, "is going to be a tough, tough commander-in-chief.”
Obama has picked Sen. Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State; the Republican-Bush family acolyte and former head of CIA Robert Gates for Secretary of War; Eric Holder for Attorney General; Susan Rice as U.N. Ambassador; Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano for Secretary of Homeland Security; and former NATO Commander Gen. James Jones as National Security Adviser.
In his opening comments Obama stated that new team shared his belief that, "America’s values are America’s greatest export to the world." Very telling comment as America's actual number one industrial export product today is weapons.
Another important Obama comment, when introducing Gates was, "He knows we need to make investments to grow our military." This indicates to me that our hopes of significantly cutting military spending will be a difficult task for us to achieve.
During the question period from the media Obama had these things to say: "We cannot have a world where innocents are killed by twisted extremists....We have to maintain the strongest military on the planet...Now is the time for us to regain American leadership in all of its dimensions...Secretary Gates meets the qualification of being an excellent Secretary of Defense...Sen. Clinton shares my core values... I said I’d remove our combat troops [from Iraq] in 16 months but it might be necessary to keep a residual force…..[Gen.] Jones understands the connection between energy and national security….[Jones] will use all elements of American power to defeat challenges to our interests...We are on a glide path to reduce our forces in Iraq. I believe 16 months is the right time frame but I have always said I’d listen to the advice of my commanders……Our mission will be changing…..The situation in Afghanistan is worsening."
So really it is about what we have expected....status quo from the man who ran for president as the change and hope agent. He has put in place a perfect "team" to continue to promote U.S. global military dominance at the very time that our domestic economy is collapsing. This reenforces for me the Bush doctrine that America's role in the world under corporate globalization will be "security export." It appears quite evident that Obama is right in line with that program.
Now the real question is how will the sizeable portion of the left, who supported Obama, respond to these picks and the language Obama used in today's news conference? How much rope will folks give the "new national security team" before they start organizing to oppose the obvious efforts to continue to project "American power" for the interests of corporate capital?