Leading article: Strength and experience

Share
Related Topics

As with the economic appointments last week, so with his foreign affairs and security appointments yesterday, President-elect Barack Obama has gone for a mix of weight, experience and an ability to work across the partisan divide. Mrs Clinton, the most high profile of the choices so far, touches all these buttons. She has authority, experience of the world at large and an ability shown as junior senator for New York to co-operate with opponents in the House.

But then weight, experience and a centrist approach to issues could also be said of the Republican Robert Gates, who will be staying on in the Pentagon; General James Jones, former head of Nato, who takes on the job of National Security Adviser; Governor Janet Napolitano of Arizona, who will be responsible for Homeland Security; and Susan Rice, who becomes Obama's choice for the sensitive post of US representative to the UN.

The single message of these appointments, as with Obama's previous announcements, is of reassurance: reassurance to the US public that the new President is going to be strong on security, reassurance to the world at large that Obama will mend bridges with his allies but be tough on his opponents, and reassurance to Congress and to the Washington political class that the next Commander in Chief will be coming with a team of knowing insiders, not fresh-faced radicals.

That may prove disappointing to his young supporters and those in the Middle East and elsewhere who might have hoped that the election of America's first black President would bring a gale of change to foreign policies as well as domestic ones. The appointment of Hillary Clinton is especially contentious on these grounds. She could still prove too wedded in the past of her husband's policies and too focussed on her own future to make a perfect foil for a President-elect largely inexperienced in foreign affairs.

But in the end it is the President who makes the crucial moves abroad as well as at home. The very fact that Obama is prepared to appoint a team of such strong and experienced figures suggests a self-confidence that bodes well for a future in which there will be events that test the new administration and the President himself, who will have to decide how to meet them

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP HCM/PAYROLL CONSULTANT

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP HCM/PAYROLL...

MS Dynamics NAV Developer

£45000 - £52000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Excellent oppor...

SAP GRC/SECURITY CONSULTANT

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP GRC/SECURIT...

Senior Marine / Shipping Solicitor - South Coast

Highly Competitive Package: Austen Lloyd: SOUTH COAST - MARINE / SHIPPING Th...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Are we politely looking the other way when it comes to Kate, the ever-shrinking Duchess?

Grace Dent
 

The daily catch-up: art of the unapology, a bet on UKIP and printer ink molecules

John Rentoul
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game