Global Politics

Possibilities for Obama's secretary of state

Obama's approach to foreign affairs is pretty well known by now, including his emphasis on renewed engagement and negotiation. This Obama foreign policy advisor said earlier this year that Obama will choose a secretary of state who realizes the importance of cooperation with other countries. There's an expectation that the Obama administration will take a more global approach to problems, and that makes sense says this nuclear non-proliferation expert. Yet there are no big surprises in the names being bandied about for Secretary of State. Several are experienced senators with experience on national security issues. Whomever Obama picks, the selection will be critical, according to this analyst. U.S. foreign policy works best when the President and Secretary of State have a close working relationship, he says. He cites the example of the first President George Bush and his secretary of state James Baker. But that relationship may be the exception. This professor says the trend is for foreign policy authority to come more from the White House than the State Department, and he expects that to continue under Obama. He says secretaries of state aren't not always reliable indicators of foreign policy. The analyst from earlier doesn't disagree but still thinks the system works best when there is close cooperation between the president and secretary of state, and a national security advisor who works more behind the scenes in a coordination role.

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