The Much Too Promised Land by Aaron David Miller

About the Book

For nearly twenty years, Aaron David Miller has played a central role in U.S. efforts to broker Arab-Israeli peace. His position as an advisor to presidents, secretaries of state, and national security advisors has given him a unique perspective on a problem that American leaders have wrestled with for more than half a century. Read more >

About the Author

Aaron David Miller

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December 2, 2008

Team of Rivals — A Prescription for Disaster

As the chattering classes pick up the idea of a team of rivals and apply it to Obama’s approach to his own cabinet, one can only wonder and despair. It may have worked for Lincoln (even here you need to wonder); it cannot work for Obama. This isn’t The Godfather where Michael Corleone says to a guy he’ll later have killed that you need to keep your friends close but your enemies closer, it’s American foreign policy after all. What Obama needs is a team of partners interested in his and America’s success. I suspect that’s what he’ll get. Even Hillary Clinton — whatever her own ambitions — understands that her success as secretary of state means staying close to the president. Without his authority and the perception among America’s friends and enemies that she speaks for him and he trusts her, she won’t stand a chance of becoming a consequential secretary of state. If there’s a place for dissent and dissension, it’s in the quiet internal deliberations of government where smart independent cabinet advisers speak truth to the president. The policy is then implemented seamlessly. Otherwise we’ll end up with “as the world turns” and a soap opera like approach that will mean hanging a closed for the season sign on America’s foreign policy.

- Aaron David Miller

TAGS: Barack Obama, cabinet posts, foreign policy, Hillary Clinton, secretary of state


Comments will be posted after review by blog moderators.

January 1, 2009 13:28
Posted by: Al Jalperson

BUT a team of partners who represent the best and the brightest. I would hope that Hillery's political ambitions are not minimized. The "arrogance of power" as Fulbright said is a destructive force and Ms. Clinton's obsession for power might be difficult to marginalize. I'm not saying she's Corleone but her ambitions can interfere with her rationale. I would have been more comfortable with a true independent thinker from say the Brookings Institute such as Stephen J Stedman. An expert without baggage in world affairs.

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