Kissinger on Obama’s Foreign Policy Team

This morning in the Washington Post former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has words of praise for President-Elect Barack Obama’s recently announced foreign policy team.

Of Hillary Clinton he writes:

No one can question the secretary-designate’s leadership potential for breaking through encrusted patterns or her formidable presence in a negotiation. Her most immediate challenges are to provide strategic guidance and to reorganize the department so that its implementing capacity matches its extraordinary reporting skill. This role of the secretary is all the more important because, organizationally, the State Department is geared more toward the secretary than the White House.

He has fulsome praise for James Jones whom Mr. Obama has named as National Security Advisor:

No one has ever been appointed national security adviser who had the command experience of retired Gen. James L. Jones, the former head of the Marine Corps and NATO commander. Inevitably, the facilitating function of the security adviser will be accompanied by a role in policymaking based on a vast, almost unique, experience.

And he voices support for the retention of Robert Gates at Defense:

The continuation in office of Robert Gates as secretary of defense is an important balancing element in that process. Alone among the key players, he is at the end, not the beginning, of his policy contribution. Having agreed to stay on in a transitional role, he cannot be interested in the jockeying that accompanies all new administrations. The incoming administration must have appointed him with the awareness that he would not reverse his previous convictions. He must make the difficult adjustment from one administration to another — a tribute to the nonpartisan nature of the conduct of his office in the Bush administration. He is a guarantor of continuity but also the shepherd of necessary innovation.

Dr. Kissinger’s insights into the nature of these roles and their relationship to the office of President is interesting, too.

FILED UNDER: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,
Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. John Burgess says:

    Dave: You have to get down to the third definition of ‘fulsome’ to get to what you mean to say.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Actually, John, the fourth definition. I’m hell for obscure usages.

  3. Kissinger on Obama’s Foreign Policy Team

    Whoa! Had to read that one twice to get the context correct. I envisioned heads exploding all over Obamaland once they found out the Henry Kissinger was selected by Obama for a position on his foreign policy team.