President Barack Obama begins his second term with a new national security team in the making. It now looks like most if not all his key nominees will secure Senate confirmation in coming months, with Sen. John Kerry at State, former Sen. Chuck Hagel at Defense and White House counterterrorism czar John Brennan at the CIA.
Though some have described Obama’s new “team of friends” as representing an inward-looking impulse, world events may not permit that. As in his first term, Obama will probably again face a gap between his preferred goals and strategies -- focusing on Asia and rebuilding U.S. military and economic power -- and contingencies both abroad and at home, with non-Asian scenarios diverting his attention and U.S. political stalemate threatening his domestic agenda. ...
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