Friday, June 22, 2012

Romney's competing teams

Ever since Mitt Romney announced his team of 22 special advisers on foreign policy and national security issues and 13 separate regional and issue-oriented working groups, three distinct factions have emerged, competing for the candidate's attention and approval.

The first group comes under the rubric of "Trade and Competitiveness."

The second faction is known as the neo-conservatives who believe that the national security interests of the United States and Israel are almost always identical. Long-time neocon stalwarts have been pushed to the side in favor of Eric S. Edelman, 61, a career foreign service officer who was principal deputy assistant to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney for National Security (2001-03); former undersecretary of Defense for Policy (2005-09); former ambassador to Finland and Turkey; recipient of highest awards from both the State and Defense departments; now visiting scholar at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

The third group of Romney advisers see themselves as independent thinkers, free of ideological baggage, ready to rely on science and technology to reverse America's globally perceived decline and restore it to new commanding heights. Some of them are among the 22 special advisers announced by the candidate last October.

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