Thursday, May 15, 2008

Meet Obama's Advisers

the council on foreign relations offers an in-depth look at obama's foreign policy, national security and economic advisers.
Obama’s diverse group of foreign policy advisers includes former National Security Adviser Anthony Lake, prominent lawyer and State Department veteran Gregory B. Craig, and Africa expert Susan E. Rice. All three held top positions in Bill Clinton’s administration. Like Obama, his advisers are critical of the Bush foreign policy agenda in Iraq and Afghanistan, on Darfur, and with respect to U.S.-Latin America relations, among others.

Obama’s advisers are critical of the Bush foreign policy agenda in Iraq and Afghanistan, on Darfur, and with respect to U.S.-Latin America relations.
Gregory B. Craig, a former Clinton White House aide, served as director of policy planning under former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Craig is a partner at the Washington-based Williams & Connolly law firm. Among his most prominent cases was the defense of President Clinton against his impeachment. From 1984 to 1988, Craig served as senior adviser on defense, foreign policy, and national security issues for Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA).

In March 2008, Craig criticized the Bush administration for “taking sides” in various Latin American elections. As a result, he said, the United States has become increasingly unpopular in the region. He also criticized President Bush for abandoning former President Clinton’s strategy to work with Latin America “as a whole, rather than to try to take advantage of U.S. negotiating leverage and deal with the region on its trade considerations in bits and pieces.” Above all, Craig faulted the Bush administration for having “ignored” Latin America.

Anthony Lake was a national security adviser to President Clinton and is now a professor at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. Lake served under President Clinton during several major foreign policy crises, including the conflicts in Bosnia and Somalia, among others. Lake advocated keeping a U.S. presence in Somalia even after many voices in the United States called for a withdrawal. In an interview with PBS’ Frontline, Lake said, “I still believe that if we had immediately turned tail in Somalia, there would have been other similar tragedies around the world.”

On the crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region, in 2006, Lake, with Susan Rice, urged the United States to “press for a UN resolution that issues Sudan an ultimatum: accept unconditional deployment of the UN force within one week or face military consequences.” In a Washington Post op-ed, Lake and Rice argued that the United States could also intervene in Darfur without UN approval. “The United States acted without UN blessing in 1999 in Kosovo to confront a lesser humanitarian crisis (perhaps 10,000 killed) and a more formidable adversary,” they wrote.

Lake, like Obama’s other top advisers, is critical of the Iraq war. In a January 2007 Boston Globe op-ed, Lake wrote that the civilian leaders of the war effort have failed to understand that “you cannot fix another country’s politics and resolve its internal fractures primarily through military means, coupled with floundering political, economic, and social programs that create as much dependency, corruption, and resentment as progress.”

Lake has said the United States has a “fundamental strategic interest in NATO [North Alantic Treaty Organization] and an expanding NATO that can help bring stability farther and farther East in Europe.”

Susan E. Rice, a Brookings Institution senior fellow for foreign policy, global economy, and development, served as assistant secretary of state for African affairs in the later years of the Clinton administration.

Rice has been a critic of the war in Iraq and she said in September 2007 that the troop surge is not achieving “its intended and stated objective of giving the Iraqi political factions the space that is necessary to resolve their political differences.”

Rice has also advocated a tougher U.S. response to the crisis in Darfur, Sudan. In 2007, Rice published a position paper (PDF) calling for more stringent economic sanctions on Sudan and for Congress to authorize the use of force to end the crisis, among other recommendations. In 2005, Rice urged the United States and international groups like NATO and the African Union to “embrace an emerging international norm that recognizes the ‘responsibility to protect’ innocent civilians facing death on a mass scale and whose governments cannot or will not protect them.”

Rice also categorizes global poverty as a factor in U.S. national security. In 2006, Rice warned in The National Interest that poverty “dramatically increases the risk of civil conflict” (PDF) and “prevents poor countries from devoting sufficient resources to detect and contain deadly disease.” Rice has repeatedly said the Bush administration should devote up to 0.7 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, a target set as part of the UN’s Millenium Development Project, to overseas development assistance by 2015.

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