Obama and McCain Foreign Policy Brain Trusts
Matt Yglesias lists the people on Barack Obama’s “National Security Working Group” and finds that they’re “mostly names we’ve heard before in Obamaworld or else graybeard elder statesman types.” Kevin Drum is mildly disappointed, finding it kind of dull.
And, indeed, there are no surprises here:
- Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
- Senator David Boren, former Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
- Secretary of State Warren Christopher
- Greg Craig, former director of the State Department Office of Policy Planning
- Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig
- Representative Lee Hamilton, former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
- Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder
- Dr. Tony Lake, former National Security Advisor
- Senator Sam Nunn, former Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
- Secretary of Defense William Perry
- Dr. Susan Rice, former Assistant Secretary of State
- Representative Tim Roemer, 9/11 Commissioner
- Jim Steinberg, former Deputy National Security Advisor
The same, incidentally, is true of Team McCain. I don’t know if there’s a parallel group, exactly, but CFR’s Robert McMahon took a look at McCain’s crew a couple weeks back for Newsweek.
The McCain campaign’s foreign policy coordinator is Randy Scheunemann, a former top legislative aide for Republicans on Capitol Hill, including two former leaders of the Senate, Trent Lott and Bob Dole. Former Congressional Budget Office chief Douglas Holtz-Eakin coordinates economic policy. On national security issues, McCain receives advice from several generations of Republican strategists and former top foreign policy officials such as Henry Kissinger and Richard Armitage, often grouped in the realist camp of foreign policy, as well as William Kristol and Robert Kagan, leading neoconservative voices. The campaign lists Kagan as a leading foreign policy adviser, as noted below, along with State Department veteran Richard Williamson, former top defense and national security official Peter W. Rodman, and former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, who advises on national security and energy issues.
Both lists are pretty much what you’d expect: Party loyalists with deep foreign policy backgrounds and ties to previous administrations and/or Congressional leaders.
It’s hard to read the tea leaves with Obama’s team. He’s got some traditional Realists as well as some more ideological types. Mostly, though, it’s the usual suspects from the staffs of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton with a handful of Congressional types.
McCain’s team is dominated by neo-conservatives affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute (Kristol and Kagan) or Project for the New American Century (Scheunemann, Rodman). Richardson and Woolsey are the only mainstream guys listed in the piece, although there may be more of them.