Now today we learn that National Security Advisor James Jones is stepping down to be replaced by his deputy Thomas Donilon. Interesting, because this is the same Jones mentioned in Hollywood Bob's book:
James JonesGoodbye General Jones--Secretary Gates can't be far behind you.
A variety of administration officials reportedly expressed scorn for Obama's national security adviser, James Jones, who allegedly became so distrustful of the President’s political aides that he began calling them the "Politburo" and the "Mafia”.
But Robert Gates, the Defense Secretary, reportedly worried that General Jones would be succeeded by his deputy, Thomas Donilon, who would be a "disaster".
The NY Times explains Donilon's overall worldview and gives a hint of why Gates believed he would be a disaster:
As deputy national security adviser, Mr. Donilon has urged what he calls a “rebalancing” of American foreign policy to rapidly disengage American forces in Iraq and to focus more on China, Iran and other emerging challenges. In the Afghanistan-Pakistan review, he argued that the United States could not engage in what he termed “endless war,” and has strongly defended Mr. Obama’s decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan next summer.So as the deadline approaches they throw in a guy who favors withdrawing from the central front in the WoT to send a hopeful message to the far left base (many of whom supported Obama when he said AkPak was the central front in the GWoT and a necessary war) in an effort to butter them into voting en masse again.
But will they buy it? There's no guarantee Obama will actually follow through and abandon the central front in the WoT. This is a battlefield he swore was crucial to our security and the same one he claimed Bush had abandoned, to our detriment. How can he do the same? From simply a political standpoint that wouldn't play well going into 2012 not to mention putting the US and our NATO allies at actual risk--look at the recent terror threats in Europe.
So once again he presents an enigma. It certainly appears the military has stepped up the drone attacks in the territories, which makes sense if they believe there's a real chance the 2011 deadline will be enforced; our allies the Pakis are responding by cutting off supply lines and flinging rhetoric to hurt the commander-in-chief while Karzai talks of dealing with the Taliban to end the conflict.
All of this, taken in context with the Wikileaks revelations about Pakistan and even older history detailing Pakistan's involvement with creating the Taliban (and even some strange meetings with Saddam) seems to make perfect sense--as Obama was quoted as saying in Woodward's book, "the cancer is in Pakistan". And he's right--a real ally would not act as they have. They are the ONLY reason we are still in Afghanistan right now.
But at the same time they are nothing to be trifled with, as can be seen. It's why he says "Pockeston" while pronouncing most other country names in the American dialect--a shameless attempt to curry favor with a dangerous nuclear-armed Muslim country. It seems to have failed.
Obama has no choice but to play his game to completion, whether that game be continuing to attempt the phony-baloney engagement with Islamabad or cutting a deal with Karzai that has the Taliban (and ISI) giving up a prize like Zawahiri so we can chopper out. Whatever the case, nothing will be clear until after the mid-terms.