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Straws in the wind at State

I hate to ever quote the Moustache of Understanding, but this is interesting:

Mrs. Clinton has appointed three Super Sub-Secretaries — George Mitchell to handle Arab-Israel negotiations, Richard Holbrooke to manage Afghanistan-Pakistan affairs and Dennis Ross to coordinate Iran policy.

Interesting because one would think Ross had the inside track on [I/P|P/I], at least in the Village, despite, or perhaps because of, his demonstrable record of failure, with the last summit on President Bill Clinton's term being particularly icky. It may be that the Arab world told the administration they didn't trust Ross. If so, they are right not to trust him*, and kudos to the administration for listening, and getting him out of there.

Even better than that, where Ross has a proven record of failure, Mitchell has a proven record of success in Northern Ireland.

So, good news. And Hillary does have a lot on her plate, doesn't she? I haven't followed her at all closely, since she's not a free agent, but things seem to be going well. And the CDS seems to have been turned off, almost like somebody threw a switch. Odd, that.

NOTE * I'm assuming that Iran is so important that Ross can't so any damage, since anything real will take place at higher levels.

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Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

That's what you got out of it? I thought you'd get out of it that Ross probably shouldn't be a sub-secretary role, at all, and especially in the Middle East/West Asia, since most of these conflicts are connected, and particularly I/P and Iran since Israel has long since been pounding the war drums to launch a 'preventitive strike against Iran.

As far as I'm concerned, very little has changed. The world tour has been underwhelming, at best, and has often been dissapointing (i.e. China). The only word I can give it is "meh".

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

According to the SOS, Ross was appointed "Special Advisor" to Clinton on the Gulf and Southwest Asia (Iran, Pakistan, etc..), whereas both Mitchell and Holbrooke were named "Special Envoy". That distinction makes alot of difference. It means he has no specific duties or authority, and no formal role diplomatic role. His role is advising on policy on the region. This looks like an "appeasement" appointment of the better to have him inside the tent, pissing out-type. Which is fine, Ross had way too much baggage to have credibility as envoy.

I agreed with Aaron David Miller as a choice, who once penned this oped, and more importantly, and recently this oped, as Iran envoy.

That position is technically still available....

Anyway, I found this post very enlightening, more like a full beard than a moustache.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

...Ross's title of "Advisor" rather than "Envoy" is due to the fact that we don't have relations with Iran, and thus we can't have an "Envoy" for them.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

First, his title is "Special Advisor for The Gulf and Southwest Asia", he could have easily been "Special Envoy for The Gulf and Southwest Asia". Nowhere does that say "Iran" in either title.

Second, Bush already sent an "envoy" to negotiate directly with Iranian diplomats last summer, so there was no barrier to Obama naming him an "Envoy" anyway. Even if there HAD been a policy against having an "Envoy", Obama could have changed that policy.