AP sees ‘cracks’ in foreign policy team

AP SEES ‘CRACKS’ IN FOREIGN POLICY TEAM…. To hear the Associated Press tell it, there are already foreign policy fissures in Barack Obama’s foreign policy team, as a result of differences between Obama’s choices for secretary of state and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Reading the piece, though, I have no idea wha the AP is talking about.

As Secretary of State-pick Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.N. envoy-choice Susan Rice separately visited the diplomatic agency’s headquarters in Washington’s Foggy Bottom neighborhood, persons familiar with the transition said that Rice wants to install her own transition team inside the department.

Such a move by an incoming U.N. ambassador is rare, if not unprecedented, because the job is based at the United Nations in New York, where Rice already has a small transition staff, the sources familiar with the incoming administration. […]

It was not clear if Clinton and Rice — who had strained relations during the Democratic primaries because of Rice’s steadfast backing of Obama — saw each other at the State Department as Clinton left the building shortly after Rice arrived.

Maybe it’s a slow news period for reporters covering Obama’s transition, because this is pretty thin.

Rice reportedly wants a team at the State Department. Other U.N. ambassadors have done this, too. Is Clinton opposed to this? There’s no evidence to say that she is. Are Rice and Clinton at odds at all? There’s no evidence to say that they are.

But the AP’s Matthew Lee reported that we’re seeing the “first sign of cracks” in Obama’s team. So where are they? As Lee explains in the piece, Clinton had hoped that Rice would endorse her presidential campaign a year ago, but Rice backed Obama. And now that Ambassador-designate Rice wants a team in Foggy Bottom, the AP believes this “could fuel speculation that those tensions will carry into the new administration.”

Seriously, read that sentence again. There’s no tension, and there’s no speculation about tension, but a year-old campaign endorsement dynamic “could fuel speculation” about possible tensions.

The same report added that if Clinton opposes Rice’s request, it might “complicate the handover by blurring lines of authority.” None of this has happened, of course, but it’s apparently evidence of the “first sign of cracks” in Obama’s team.

And what about the fact that Rice and Clinton apparently visited the State Department the other day at similar times? Who cares? As Jamison Foser noted, “So there’s no indication Clinton and Rice saw each other. There’s no indication that it would have been a problem if they did. Or if they didn’t.”

I don’t know why the AP would run this. It’s almost as if the wire is looking for an excuse to publish a piece about Clinton-related drama, whether it exists or not. That couldn’t be, could it?

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