The Right Enemies

I should note that not only does Barack Obama have the right allies on foreign policy questions, but he has the right enemies as well. Here, PPI's Will Marshall stands up for Hillary Clinton on Iran and says that people who criticize her "risk rekindling ancient public doubts about their party’s willingness to confront tough national security challenges." And of course, it's precisely Marshall's poor judgment on the substance of national security policy issues combined with a knee-jerk "left is never right" view of the politics of national security issues that led him to become such a forceful advocate of invading Iraq years ago.

Meanwhile, Ilan Goldenberg also notes Marshall launching a wrongheaded critique of Obama's understanding of al-Qaeda and complains:

Just check out his bio. There is absolutely nothing in his background that has anything to do with foreign policy. He really doesn't know all that much about this stuff.

But forget Marshall's bio, check out the general PPI staff bios page and you'll see that unless I'm missing something Marshall runs a think tank that doesn't employ any foreign policy or national security specialists at all. One might conclude that this means his ideas should be understood primarily as "centrist" political posturing rather than reflecting some deep effort to understand the issues.

CORRECTION: It's not on their website, but I'm told that PPI has in fact hired a guy named Jim Arkedis with a background in naval intelligence and a degree from SAIS. They used to have Steve Nider whose work was pretty tightly focused on military transformation issues.