The Freeman Withdrawal and the ‘Team of Rivals’

Posted by Mike Merritt in Politics on

Former Ambassador Charles Freeman withdrew his name from consideration yesterday after controversy arose regarding some of his positions on Israel, and financial ties to Saudi Arabia and China, through his position on the board of a Chinese oil exploration company and an allegedly Saudi funded Middle East policy group.

More change in Washington, I see.

Yea, I’m in the dissent on this one, but not because I’m some rabid always-blame-Israel anti-semite.

The thing is that the Obama administration was supposed to be the team of rivals.  In some ways it is.  He placed the more hawkish Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, and brought in a bunch of old Bush 41 hands as advisers.  Robert Gates served the last president.  And the guy who would have been Freeman’s boss, Dennis Blair, well, I don’t recall seeing any issues brought up about him.  Blair supported Freeman, too.

Okay, so we have all the people the Republicans like, or at least, can accept.  But where is the voice from the other side?  The people who may not be in complete agreement with everything Israel does, or may not believe China is Satan incarnate.  You won’t find these people part of the foreign policy team, or at least not in a way that they publicly state dissenting positions.  Because in the U.S. government, Israel is always supported, no matter what; China is generally opposed (except for trade); and Saudi Arabia holds the distinction of being both ally and the country from which most of the 9/11 hijackers came.

I certainly don’t agree with a lot of Freeman’s positions, especially a lot of the stuff he was saying after 9/11.  Freeman is also off base that the American government wouldn’t accept a mass protest in the nation’s capital – since it happens all the time.  I’m just saying that I don’t think a Freeman appointment to the NIC would have been the end of the world, since he was already vastly outnumbered by the hawks around him.

Speaking of which…for those who say his views would have affected his ability to view things objectively: so an ardently pro-Israel and anti-PRC viewpoint would have been objective?

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