Whispers are swirling around the political opportunities ahead for Gen. David Petraeus, who oversees the U.S. military in the Middle East and Central Asia, writes Max Fisher in The Atlantic. Will the popular commander, a registered Republican, run for president some day? The general's recent determination that "the time has come" to reconsider the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military is just one indication of his "surprisingly liberal politics." Here's an excerpt:

"General David Petraeus can't even travel to his home state of New Hampshire anymore without raising another round of 'Will he run for president in 2012?' talk. It's not hard to see why. As chief of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), Petraeus oversees all U.S. military operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, giving him the executive experience governors only dream of and the gravitas of five senators. Military officials generally join up with the GOP if they enter politics, and Petraeus is indeed registered as a Republican....

"If we're going to play Washington's favorite parlor game, we might as well ask the inevitable question: Would Petraeus really run as a Republican?"

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