The other shoe is dropping. Now that Hillary is feathering her nest at State, it seems likely that a flock of Democratic hawks — or are they vultures? — will be settling in, too. First among firsts is, yes, Richard Holbrooke.
Earlier it was conventional wisdom that Holbrook had been exiled from Obamaland, but his close ties to Hillary make it a sure bet that he’ll be back. The Post reports today that Holbooke will get the ultrasensitive portfolio for South Asia including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India:
President -elect Barack Obama is seriously considering giving former ambassador Richard Holbrooke a key role in handling diplomacy in south Asia, a move that would put one of America’s most prominent international troubleshooters in the middle of trying to resolve the thorny and interrelated problems surrounding India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to several sources familiar with the transition.
The appointment would represent early recognition by Obama that the region poses perhaps the biggest foreign policy challenge for his incoming administration.
The report adds: “The move would also represent another example of Obama’s willingness to look beyond his circle of supporters to fill key posts.” But it doesn’t represent that at all. It means, instead, that Obama is giving members of his War Cabinet — as the Wall Street Journal called it — free rein to pick their friends, and not Obama’s friends, for their staff.
Bloomberg throws a few drops of cold water on the Holbrooke story:
Obama’s chief spokeswoman for national security, Brooke Anderson, tamped down the report, saying, “We have no plans for an envoy, as there is one president at a time and we intend to respect that.”
But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t true.
Holbrooke’s egregious hawkishness is on display for all to see, but here’s my favorite, a recent manifestation, from a Times piece on the alleged dangers of a resurgent Russia:
It’s not only cold warriors like Mr. Cheney who have characterized Russia as a rogue state. Richard Holbrooke and Ronald Asmus, former officials in the Clinton administration, compared Russia’s assault on Georgia with Hitler’s march on Czechoslovakia, airily justified by the alleged need to protect ethnic Germans. For the first time in almost 30 years — at least since the invasion of Afghanistan — Russia has come to be seen as a threat to world order.
Yeah, another one of those he’s-another-Hitler comparisons.