For liberals hoping Clinton will undergo a left-oriented metamorphosis on foreign policy to match the economic and social policy transformations that have her sounding more and more like an Elizabeth Warren acolyte, Sullivan's selection will be a disappointment. He won't drag Clinton to the left — or anywhere else.This appeal to reason has long been one of the tools that hawks use to argue for war. If you think of killing people as just another way of influencing events, just another tool of power, then of course it seems like the rational response in many situations. Pacifism, by contrast, is rooted in an ultimately unreasonable belief that killing people is always wrong. Not all war-mongers are red-faced ranters like Dick Cheney; some are smooth, suave, and completely rational as they argue that, regrettably, it is necessary in this case to blow up a bunch of innocent people in pursuit of the greater good.
"He's in line with her," said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to President Barack Obama. "On the spectrum of people in our administration, he tended to favor more assertive US engagement on issues" and "responses that would incorporate some military element." That included early advocacy for arming Syrian rebels when he worked for Clinton at State and the Ukrainian military when he was Biden's national security adviser.
Like Clinton, though, Sullivan is decidedly dedicated to the proposition that no ideology or solution fits every situation.
"Reject cynicism. Reject certitude. And don't be a jerk," he advised the University of Minnesota's public policy graduates in a 2013 address. "Now, when I say 'reject certitude,' I don't mean your core principles. You can and must be certain about those ... But in public policy, principles simply point the way — they do not provide specific answers about what to do in specific circumstances."
He and Clinton both subscribe to the non-philosophical school of so-called "smart power." A concept developed by Harvard professor and former Defense Department official Joseph Nye, smart power encompasses the use of both hard power favored by hawks (military threat, force, and sanctions) and the soft-power levers favored by foreign policy doves (foreign aid, forging cultural and economic bonds, and negotiation).
Monday, May 11, 2015
Clinton's Top Foreign Policy Advisor
Interesting profile of Jake Sullivan, who has been Hillary Clinton's top foreign policy assistant for years and will now be the top foreign policy hand on her presidential campaign: