The dream team

Article Highlights

  • As President Obama begins his 2nd term, it will be tempting to reward loyalists with promotions.

    Tweet This

  • Obama's election triumph is only days old, but the buzz has shifted from the horserace to the coming cabinet shakeups.

    Tweet This

  • Who did @DPletka select as the brain trust that Obama should have at his side as he retools his foreign policy?

    Tweet This

Foreign Policy Editor's Note: Barack Obama's election triumph is only days old, but already the buzz has shifted from the horserace to the coming shakeups among his top aides and cabinet secretaries. To help the president out, we asked seven top thinkers to select the brain trust that Obama should have at his side as he retools his foreign policy for a second term.

As Obama begins his second term, it will be tempting --- because it always is -- to reward loyalists with promotions. But that's a temptation this president should resist. The world is a more dangerous place than it was four years ago, and if re-election animated Obama's first term, his legacy will surely animate the second. But an Iran with nuclear weapons, an al Qaeda that is stronger and more diversified, and a dominant and increasingly militant China are surely not the legacy Obama would prefer to leave his successor. He will therefore need a new team at the helm, one respected by this White House and with sufficient stature to stand against the machinery of fear now run from the West Wing -- one that will be honest about and engaged in the safety and security of the American people. Who does that mean?

Joe Lieberman 
SECRETARY OF STATE 
Lieberman is retiring, and the Senate has seen few of his stature, intellectual heft, gentility, or morality. He is a worthy successor to Clinton and a man who will stand for his department but first and foremost for his country.

Jack Keane 
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE 
Keane is a retired general who is respected by all and has no history of partisanship. He has a love of the military, respect for the fighting force, and an understanding not only of management and budgets, but also of our challenges in Afghanistan and throughout the Near East, South Asia, and the Pacific.

Erskine Bowles 
SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY 
Bowles is a fiscal conservative with a clear track record, convictions and a willingness to stick by them, an understanding of compromise, and an ability to work with all parties.

Nobody 
DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE 
Abolish the position. Along with secretary of homeland security, this is one of the worst jobs in Washington. The officeholder is the head of a massive bureaucracy that makes the management of the intelligence world worse, not better.

David Petraeus 
CIA DIRECTOR 
The attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was a scandal, and our intelligence apparatus is broken, but nothing can be fixed in one short term. Give him the job of fixing it, and he will do it.

Michèle Flournoy 
NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR 
Her name is regularly bruited for secretary of defense, but Flournoy is a professional through and through. She would manage agencies, and manage them fairly and without fear-mongering. And she would return the post of national security advisor to its appropriate place as a coordinating position for all of the national security agencies in government.

Anne-Marie Slaughter *BONUS PICK 
U.N. AMBASSADOR 
The lady reveres international law, which will put her among friends at Turtle Bay. She is also a principled humanitarian and will fight harder than anyone for the United Nations to play a role the United States has eschewed under Obama: a champion of freedom.

 

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Danielle
Pletka

What's new on AEI

AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters
image A nation divided by marriage
image Teaching reform
image Socialist party pushing $20 minimum wage defends $13-an-hour job listing
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 27
    MON
  • 28
    TUE
  • 29
    WED
  • 30
    THU
  • 31
    FRI
Monday, October 27, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
State income taxes and the Supreme Court: Maryland Comptroller v. Wynne

Please join AEI for a panel discussion exploring these and other questions about this crucial case.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 9:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
For richer, for poorer: How family structures economic success in America

Join Lerman, Wilcox, and a group of distinguished scholars and commentators for the release of Lerman and Wilcox’s report, which examines the relationships among and policy implications of marriage, family structure, and economic success in America.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The 7 deadly virtues: 18 conservative writers on why the virtuous life is funny as hell

Please join AEI for a book forum moderated by Last and featuring five of these leading conservative voices. By the time the forum is over, attendees may be on their way to discovering an entirely different — and better — moral universe.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
A nuclear deal with Iran? Weighing the possibilities

Join us, as experts discuss their predictions for whether the United States will strike a nuclear deal with Iran ahead of the November 24 deadline, and the repercussions of the possible outcomes.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
The forgotten depression — 1921: The crash that cured itself

Please join Author James Grant and AEI senior economists for a discussion about Grant's book, "The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself" (Simon & Schuster, 2014).

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.