Tom Donilon has replaced James Jones as national security adviser, an appointment that could set up "one of the greatest civilian-military showdowns in decades," says Peter Beinart at The Daily Beast. That's because Jones' former deputy shares President Obama's deep reservations about an extended U.S. presence in Afghanistan — and isn't likely to keep quiet about it. And unlike his predecessor, Donilon is willing to fight the Pentagon's plans for a long, "full-on counterinsurgency" mission in Afghanistan. Here, an excerpt from Beinart's piece:
From the military’s perspective, Donilon is worse than a mere civilian; he's a politico. He was a party operative before he was a foreign policy wonk, which is one reason he worked so well with Rahm Emanuel, the man who pushed Jones to hire him as his deputy. At the White House, Donilon’s political savvy was considered an asset. But within the military, his prominence was seen as evidence that the White House subordinated national security to crass political concerns.
...The conventional wisdom is that Obama chose Donilon because he's already the guy who makes the trains run on time. But it's also possible that he chose him because Obama knows that he is headed for a bureaucratic knife fight over Afghanistan, and in that internal struggle, he no longer wants someone like Jones who plays both sides. Instead, he wants someone who will help him wind down America’s Afghan adventure, no matter how hard he has to fight Petraeus and company to do it.
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