Steve Clemons

When President Obama unveiled his military budget earlier this year, it was clear that he was essentially putting a new defense strategy on the table. The Pentagon’s plan called for the ranks of the active-duty Army to be reduced from 570,000 to 490,000 troops over five years. The Marine Corps, meanwhile, was supposed to shrink from 202,000 to 182,000. At the same time, drones were a high priority in the budget—not surprising, given that Obama has ordered about five times as many drone attacks as his predecessor.

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Ben Smith profiles Steve Clemons, the foreign policy blogger and man-about-town. This part is completely hilarious: Clemons’s ubiquitous social role is coupled with a policy agenda that puts him at odds even with many of his friends. His chief causes include an end to America’s war in Afghanistan, strong U.S. and international pressure on Israel to make peace with the Palestinians and a broad opening to Cuba.

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Steve Clemons, with whom I worked at the New America Foundation in 1999, has some advice for President Obama: Set up a Team B with diverse political and national security observers like Tom Daschle, John Podesta, Brent Scowcroft, Arianna Huffington, Fareed Zakaria, Katrina vanden Heuvel, John Harris, James Fallows, Chuck Hagel, Strobe Talbott, James Baker, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and others to give you a no-nonsense picture of what is going on. That seems, ah, problematic. The only two people who could actually be useful here, Daschle and Podesta, already sit in the outer-advice circle.

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Under the Bus (cont'd)

Following up on Mike's post about the various people Obama has thrown under the bus, it does seem that there's an unusual amount of handwringing going on about Greg Craig, or at least about the manner in which he was thrown, through a series of well-orchestrated leaks. One of the most overwrought bits comes Steve Clemons who, in a Daily Beast piece titled "The Assassination of Greg Craig," writes: What just happened to Gregory Craig should not have happened in Obama Land.

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Transition Anxiety

An anonymous friend of Steve Clemons who's waiting for the phone to ring with an offer to join the Obama administration (Holbrooke?*) unburdens himself: I read the lists of names on the transition teams, making mental notes of people I know well, people I pretend to know well, and the dreaded category of people I wish I had made the effort to know well before they were on the transition team. I check to make sure I have all of their e-mail addresses and send them a note congratulating them and offering to do anything I can to help.

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