Saturday, January 12, 2013

The new Ike?

Obama's latest cabinet choices are giving us a pretty clear indication of his vision for his second term. Kerry for Secretary of State shows a low key approach with a lot of private diplomacy, without a lot of headlines and grandstanding.  Hagel as Secretary of Defense shows a desire to cut back military excess and a commitment to be very reluctant to send troops into battle. Brennan at the CIA shows he wants to return that agency back into a more intelligence focused power with less paramilitary force. And Lew as Secretary of the Treasury pretty well keeps the status quo in the financial system with no intent for major reforms.

No-drama-Obama is stepping forward. The more extreme conservatives will fight him as hard as they can, of course, but under what circumstances wouldn't they?  I expect that their biggest fight will be against Hagel because they oppose any reduction in military spending. But, the irony is that Hagel's hero is the great Republican president, Eisenhower, who dramatically reduced the size of the military against fierce opposition from the generals, who did not scare Ike, and who did everything in his power to prevent the sending of troops off to wars, which he knew from deep personal experience never work out as planned.

It seems to me that Obama's approach in his upcoming term is very much like Ike's - increase back door diplomacy, limit military dominance over foreign policy, and do his best not to rock the economic ship.

Sounds something like Ike's America. We could do a lot worse.