President-elect Obama formally introduced his national security team this morning. He stressed “a new beginning” and confirmed he would be giving the military a new mission of “ending the war in Iraq.” Yet his comments, in large part, could have been delivered by a Republican. He spoke of the Mumbai attacks and pledged to halt the “advance of hateful extremism.” He confirmed his “relentlessness in defense of our people” and declared that his nominees shared his “pragmatism about the use of power.” He deemed the U.N. an “indespensible and imperfect forum” and reiterated his intention to “reform” that institution.
In the introductory comments, Hillary Clinton’s remarks were noteworthy for her personal sentiments about leaving the Senate. (Those who contend it is always about her won’t be surprised.) The other nominees’ comments were appropriate and to the point. Vice President-elect Joe Biden also was allowed to speak — the first we have heard from him since the election. He stuck to the script (but was in typical Biden fashion was not so brief). He too noted “the challenge to Democratic states from radical ideologies.”