Obama names national security team, Clinton as head of State
By Stephen Collinson, AFP
December 2, 2008, 9:28 am TWN
CHICAGO -- Barack Obama Monday nominated his erstwhile political foe Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state, as he rolled out a muscular national security team rich in global political star power.
"In this uncertain world, the time has come for a new beginning -- a new dawn of American leadership to overcome the challenges of the 21st century, and to seize the opportunities embedded in those challenges," Obama said Monday.
Facing a perfect storm of foreign policy crises deepened by last week's Mumbai attacks, the president-elect also announced that Defense Secretary Robert Gates will stay on in his post.
Fifty days before he is sworn in as president, Obama also selected former NATO supreme commander James Jones for the vital right-hand man role of national security advisor.
The picks are the latest collection of political power players to join a formative cabinet replete with experience on the world stage and in Washington's political jungle.
Obama unveiled his team at a Chicago press conference after several weeks of frenzied speculation sparked by his offer to Clinton to become top U.S. diplomat.
The remarkable political alliance writes another unlikely chapter in the rollercoaster political drama of Bill and Hillary Clinton and symbolically consigns this year's fiery Democratic primary feud to U.S. history.
Obama and vice president-elect Joseph Biden named their team just days after the Mumbai assaults handed them a fresh South Asia crisis to add to the plethora of U.S. national security challenges.
After taking office in January, the Obama team must extricate U.S. troops from Iraq, deal with the Iranian nuclear drive and address deteriorating conditions in the Afghan war as well as deal with a resurgent Russia.
At the same time, the U.S. economy is in meltdown and successive financial crises are cascading around the world, threatening to further destabilize a fractious security environment.