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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2793

Obama’s Security Advisors Vow to Fight Terrorism anywhere in the World

By Philip Fernando for Asian Tribune

Los Angeles, 02 December, ( President-elect Barack Obama announced his team of security advisers who were reportedly bent on fighting terrorism in all forms no matter where they are. Headed by Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, who ran against him in the primary, and Robert Gates, present Defense Secretary under George Bush, the team of experts was considered formidable by most observers. Others in the team were James L. Jones as security adviser to White House, Governor Janet Napolitano as homeland security chief, Eric Holder, senior administrator at the Justice Department for Attorney General; retired Navy Admiral Dennis Blair, director of national intelligence; and Susan Rice, former secretary for African affairs at the State Department as ambassador to the United Nations.

The prospect of Hillary Clinton brought immense support from millions of Clinton supporters even though it caused unease among some of Obama's most fervent supporters, who backed him in the Democratic primaries. Answering questions from the reporters, Obama said that he has the final say in all matters. Having conflicting views was not a matter to be concerned about because they all have the same goal of serving the people and carrying out the message of change promulgated by Obama. Some believe that appointing experienced centrists like Clinton, Gates and Jones actually gives the new president more room to pursue fresh approaches. Obama said that Mumbai terror acts were a warning to all that terrorism is a serious threat.

Many believe that Obama was not afraid to tap into the best talent and by bringing Hillary on to achieve his policy vision, he protects himself from those prepared to call him "appeaser-in- chief," said one commentator and added that he is putting together a diverse team that covers the bases politically. The team representated a broad spectrum of views.

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, Eric Holder, Dennis Blair and Susan Rice were very well known to Obama. Robert Gates who handled Iraq war under George Bush had been promised the continuation for at least one year when Obama was campaigning. Some discontent over the national-security appointments is centered in the so-called Netroots activist community, whose members have been trading messages of concern about Gate’s suitability on the Internet blogs.

The concerns over the appointments are not shared by members of Congress who believe that it is a significantly experienced and skilled team. Hillary Clinton, they maintain, has a well-earned reputation for her skill and for her ability while Jones brings so much experience as former commandant of the Marine Corps. Many observed that during the primaries, Obama and Clinton exaggerated for political effect differences over foreign policy that was not as conflicting as they appeared.

It is clear that Obama administration would like to halt North Korea's nuclear program, pressuring Russia on democracy and its relations with its neighbors, working with China while pressing for human rights and continuing the trade embargo on Cuba while allowing family visits. The members of the Obama team are not that far apart on substance.

Obama is set to end the Iraq war by withdrawing troop levels during the first year of his administration. Robert Gates would help Obama and probably suggest a slower withdrawal time table. The principal difference with Gates appears to be over his call to withdraw all U.S. combat forces from Iraq within 16 months. Robert had said the U.S. must maintain a robust nuclear arsenal for its deterrent value and should modernize it by producing a new warhead. That had been criticized by many in the left wing of the Democratic Party.

In a recent speech at Carnegie Hall, Gates gave a "rah-rah" for a new warhead program that Congress has already declined to fund. In the question-and-answer part of the program, Gates displayed greater flexibility, even indicating he could support a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty that the Bush administration has opposed.

While Jones, 64, appeared with McCain at a Missouri campaign stop in June, he holds views that coincide with Obama's in two areas of prime concern to the incoming president: U.S. energy security and the need to commit new resources to the conflict in Afghanistan. Obama team has three men and three women.

- Asian Tribune -

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