Should Barack Obama win the presidency, who do you think would make up his cabinet? Today’s entry will focus on the critical post of Secretary of State.
The next top ambassador will have to deal with a vastly different and globally influential Russia. Though Russia may not be the same formidable Cold War foe, it is still a country that should command our respect. In addition, the next Secretary of State will have to do some fence-mending with the Medvedev-Putin administration. The American reaction to the Georgian crisis and to a much greater degree, our lead push to recognize Kosovo as an independent state has caused a chill in US-Russian relations.For these issues alone, Indiana Senator Richard Lugar (bio) may be the right choice. Senator Lugar, a Republican, has experience dealing with the Russians. He served as the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (1985–1987 and 2003-2007) and co-founded the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. Senator Lugar and Obama are friends. Senator Lugar is on record favoring Obama’s diplomatic approach over McCain’s. Barack Obama may want to use this cabinet position to prove that he is ready to cross party lines to ensure national security. An actual endorsement of Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy would not surprise many and may just seal the deal.
NOT FAR BEHIND
During the past decade, Latin America has shifted dramatically to the left. Currently, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela are headed by left-wing or moderately left governments. In May of this year, 12 nations signed on as members of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). This organization strives for a European Union style federation with the creation of single market along with defense and economic integration as its goal. With a combined population similar to that of the United States, this union poses foreign policy challenges to the future administration. Left-leaning Central American governments include those of Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Haiti. Cuba, with an ailing Fidel Castro, is ripe for upheaval. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (bio) is very much in the mix. He was the United States Ambassador to the United Nations (1997-1998) and served as Energy Secretary (19998-2001). While serving in the House of Representatives (1983-1997), he undertook many trips abroad. One of the leading Hispanic figures on the national stage, and a fluent Spanish speaker, Governor Richardson may be the right pick to manage the emerging strength of our southern neighbors. His surprising March 2008 endorsement of Obama is a major plus. (watch the video)
With similar credentials to Senator Lugar, the former Democratic Senator from Georgia, Sam Nunn (bio) has a strong shot at being offered the post. He served as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee for nearly two decades (1987-1992). He also serves as distinguished professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech. With Senator Lugar, he serves on the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a group working to reduce the threat of rogue nuclear weapons proliferation. A conservative democrat, his right of center views may play well to Republicans. He was rumored to be on Obama’s short list for the Vice Presidential nod. Sitting on the Board of Directors of Chevron may work against him.
Believe it or not, Obama may be considering Dr. Rice for the post. Not Dr. Condoleezza Rice but Dr. Susan Rice (bio). A Rhodes Scholar recipient, she served as the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (1997-2001). She serves on the Council for Foreign Relations and up until recently, she was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. She had served as foreign policy adviser to both the Kerry and Dukakis campaigns. Having Madeline Albright as a close friend is a plus. She may be better suited to serve as National Security Advisor or maybe United Nations Ambassador.
Feel differently? Leave a comment and let’s discuss it!