After a bitterly-fought primary campaign and something of a reconciliation during the general election -- with Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) campaigning on behalf of her one-time rival -- President-Elect Barack Obama has chosen Clinton to be his Secretary of State. Coming on the heels of an election that has captivated the world's imagination, it is unsurprising that many editorials worldwide offered their take on the pick.
Obama mixes up diplomacy with military force (Islamic Republic News Agency*): Will placing "a hawk at the head of the diplomatic apparatus" help repair America's international reputation?
Critics have questioned whether Obama would be able to guide U.S. foreign policy with a team of strong-willed veterans led by Clinton, his fierce rival during the long presidential primary campaign.
Team Obama (The Jerusalem Post): Obama's national security appointments were primarily reassuring, with Clinton in particular already a "trusted 'brand' " in Israel.
The lone discordant note was the appointment of Samantha Power to the relatively low-level job of assisting Clinton in preparing for her Senate confirmation hearings. Power has said that US military assistance to Israel should be redirected to the Palestinians; that Israel is a major human rights abuser, and that an international force should be sent to protect West Bank Palestinians.
How to control a pack of alpha dogs (The Australian): Obama's right-of-center national security team choices may augur "terrific disappointment" is in store for "his left-wing supporters."
Controlling the big beasts will be particularly hard in the cases of Clinton and [prospective National Economic Council head Larry] Summers. Foreign ministers, especially, tend to be most successful when they are extremely close to their heads of government, as Downer was with Howard, and as the immensely formidable Colin Powell famously was not with Bush. Foreign interlocutors want to know that a secretary of state speaks authoritatively for his government, that his (or her) boss will cash any cheque he or she writes.
Obama's national security team faces tough challenge (People's Daily*): "Public opinion" suggests Obama's nominations will make a "powerful team" -- but what about Clinton in particular?
[...] there was much controversy over the nomination of Hillary for she had criticized some of Obama's foreign policies, and she and her husband, former Democratic [P]resident Clinton[,] had a conflict of interest in overseas donations and lobbying. However, the conflict was later solved as Hillary made some concessions.
Obama gambles on Hillary Clinton (Financial Times): Has Obama selected "competent and effective lieutenants" with his national security picks? Almost certainly, in the case of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and prospective National Security Advisor General James Jones. But what about Clinton?
[...] the main question is whether Mrs Clinton can subordinate not just her opinions but also her political ambitions to making the Obama administration a success. That must be in doubt. Her husband's financial entanglements and irrepressible flair for scandal are further potential pitfalls. In weighing all this and choosing her regardless, Mr Obama has taken quite a risk -- one that, in our view, is difficult to justify.
* State-owned and/or state-controlled publication.