Obama's Gang Of 300

Elisabeth Bumiller's fascinating sketch of Barack Obama's foreign policy apparatus, complete with eye-opening detail, contains a few clues as to how a President Obama might structure his national security information flow. One of those academic Washington concerns, yes, but the relative balance of power between the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the National Security Council and outside advisers is as responsible for the conception and execution of policy as any other organizational factor.

Obama's team is heavily peopled by a younger generation of Democratic foreign policy gurus who came of age reading books like Samantha Power's "A Problem from Hell" and assimilating its message about American credibility in the world.

The McCain response to all this -- John doesn't need daily talking points -- is a reflection on Obama's learning curve, although McCain is also very clearly learning as he is going, too. (One political analyst likened Obama's trip as an example of a runner who starts to train for a marathon three days before it begins.)

One wonders whether the 300 > 20 > 2 > Obama equation will work in the Oval Office.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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