The premature resignation of National Security Adviser General James Jones and the concomitant appointment of Tom Donilon to replace him shows one ominous thing: No matter what happens on November 2, Obama intends to move his foreign policy left. Here’s why:
The New York Times reports that Jones had been expected to resign by the end of the year, but that he left prematurely because he had angered White House political aides. Jones’ sin: He candidly told Bob Woodward about his strained relationship with the White House politicos, whom he dubbed the “water bugs.”
Jones had real reason to be angry and frustrated with the “water bugs.” They “did not understand war or foreign relations,” he told Woodward; and they systematically worked to undermine his authority as National Security Adviser.
The water bugs undermined Jones by leaking derogatory information about him, by bypassing him altogether and working with his political deputies instead, and by blocking his access to Obama. They’re “too interested in measuring the short-term political impact of the president’s decisions,” Jones explained.
Now one of those political “water bugs,” Jones’ deputy, Tom Donilon, is set to replace him as National Security Adviser. What does this portend for the future of U.S. foreign policy? A lot actually, and none of it looks good.
A Bad Omen: Donilon is the ultimate Democratic Party politico. The man, in fact, has devoted his entire professional life to advancing the liberal agenda. Indeed, he began his career as a political operative for Jimmy Carter; and he shares the Left’s aversion to the exercise of American military power.
Thus, during last fall’s White House policy deliberations over Afghanistan, Donilon warned of “endless war,” while looking for excuses to avoid sending more troops there, despite Gen. McChrystal’s urgent request for the same.
“Gates felt that Donilon did not understand the military or treat its senior leadership with sufficient respect,” Woodward reports. “The secretary told Jones that Donilon would be a ‘disaster’ as Obama’s national security adviser.”
“You have no credibility with the military,” Jones told Donilon. “You should go overseas… You frequently pop off with absolute declarations about places you’ve never been, leaders you’ve never met or colleagues you work with.”
Donilon may not know much, but he possesses the surefire cockiness of a lifelong pol; and he is determined to set policymaking in a far-left direction.
Thus, according to the New York Times, Donilon “has urged what he calls a ‘rebalancing’ of American foreign policy to rapidly disengage American forces in Iraq and to focus more on China, Iran and other emerging challenges.”
But of course, China isn’t killing our soldiers and Marines; Iraqi Islamic extremists are. Iran also has American blood on its hand; however, there is absolutely no reason to think that Donilon has even the foggiest notion about how to address this problem. And, if the past is prologue — and it is — his dovish instincts are not reassuring; they are cause for alarm.
Election Year Timing: Unfortunately, the timing of this decision is telling because it clearly is designed to signal the direction in which Obama intends to move after the November elections. There has been much speculation about whether Obama would move to the political center as Bill Clinton did in 1994 after the Republicans scored a landslide win that won them control of Congress.
What Donilon’s elevation as National Security Adviser shows is that any move to the political center is highly unlikely. In fact, quite the oppose: There is every reason to believe that Obama intends to rigidly adhere to his timeline for withdrawal from Afghanistan and complete withdrawal from Iraq.
America, it seems, is coming home. We are withdrawing from the world. God help us.