More Reagan Than Carter: The Pragmatism Of Obama

Eli Lake has an open-minded and interesting analysis of how an Obama administration will grapple with international terrorism. It will be no more purist than the presidential campaign. It will work with unsavory characters. And it will aim to kill those terrorists we cannot sway. Money quote:

Susan Rice is tipped to be a senior figure in an Obama administration. Earlier this month, I sent her a handful of questions about counterterrorism policy. Her answers were filled with all the hedges and qualifications that you would expect in the middle of a campaign. She told me that Obama would eschew a "one size fits all approach" to fighting terrorism. "In some cases that may mean strong support for proxies (as in Anbar). In other places it may mean direct U.S. action. In others, it may mean relying more on an allied government or the international community."

But there were several answers she provided that I found highly revealing. She described Obama's opinion of America's historic involvement with insurgency and counterinsurgency. She applauded the 1980s arming of the mujahedin resistance to the Soviets: "[S]upport for the Afghan resistance to Soviet aggression was the right decision in the 1980s." And she said that the Anbar Awakening was "responsible for much of the security progress we have seen in Iraq," though she insisted that Sunni militias must eventually be incorporated into state security forces. In light of some of the criticisms that have been lobbed in Obama's direction, those are pretty suggestive allusions.

Read the whole thing.