Tuesday, February 24, 2009


At 9pm Monday night, the State Department announced that Dennis Ross would be Secretary Clinton's adviser for the "Gulf and Southwest Asia". What does that mean? Is he the Iran-policy guy, as had been rumored? It seems the basic answer is "yes", but that they don't want to officially say so.

Reporters pushed the State Department for an explanation on Tuesday; they remained vague. (here's the back-and-forth).

The NYT went with "Negotiator Picked for Post at State Dept." (lede: "Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday appointed Dennis B. Ross, a seasoned Middle East negotiator under Republican and Democratic presidents, as her special adviser for the gulf and Southwest Asia, a portfolio that will include Iran.").

The Post take is quite different; they were confident enough to scrap any ambiguity on the meaning, going with "Veteran Mideast Envoy Ross Named to Advise Clinton on Iran Strategy" (lede: "Dennis Ross, a longtime diplomatic troubleshooter, has been appointed as a special adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, with responsibility for developing a strategy for engaging Iran.") The Post goes on to cite anonymous officials: "State Department officials said the title is a euphemism for Iran and issues affected by Iran's actions; it was kept obscure because Washington has not had diplomatic relations with Tehran since shortly after the Iranian revolution three decades ago."

Ross is a wacko hawk on Iran.

Great. So the Obama team realized that there was great opposition (both domestically and internationally) to appointing Ross to this gig. So they go ahead and appoint him, but dress it up all nice. That's not change we can believe in.


Post a Comment

<< Home