The Energetic General James L. Jones

It's official. Obama's choice for National Security Adviser is  General James L. Jones. I must admit that of all of Obama's choices, I find this one the most compelling because of General Jones' breadth of experience. During his military career service, General Jones served as NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and Commander of the U.S. European Command from January 2003 to February 2007. Previously, General Jones served as the 32nd Commandant of the United States Marine Corps from July 1999 to January 2003. All this is well known. Less widely known is that since March 2007, General Jones has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for 21st Century Energy, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. General Jones selection as the NSA thus bridges two key components of US national security that must be included in our national security debate going forward -- military and energy. As the Institute's website notes:

Energy underpins America's economic prosperity, national security, and global competitiveness. Yet our nation lacks a comprehensive energy strategy. Policies are often based on short-sighted objectives, complacency, or contradictory rules and objectives. The Institute is committed to putting the best ideas forward for an all-encompassing, long-term plan that can put the United States on a path to a secure, prosperous, diverse, and clean energy future.

The Institute has just unveiled its Transition Plan for Securing America's Energy Future, an energy policy roadmap with 88 concrete recommendations and detailed timelines for President-elect Barack Obama and the 111th Congress. From the preamble Solutions for Securing America's Energy Future:

Global demand (for energy) will increase by more than 50% between now and 2030 - and perhaps by as much as 30% here in the United States. We must develop new, affordable, diverse, and clean sources of energy that will underpin our nation's economy and keep us strong both at home and abroad. Our energy future must address growing shortfalls in infrastructure capacity and emerging environmental issues. And looking ahead, even the most optimistic among us must conclude that we are not well positioned to anticipate nor prepared to meet tomorrow's energy needs.

The report outlines thirteen pillars which are:

1. Aggressively Promote Energy Efficiency

2. Reduce the Environmental Impact of Energy Consumption and Production

3. Invest in Climate Science to Guide Energy, Economic and Environmental Policy

4. Significantly Increase Research, Development Demonstration and Deployment of Advanced Clean Energy Technologies

5. Significantly Expand Domestic Oil and Gas Exploration and Production

6. Commit to and Expand Nuclear Energy Use

7. Commit to the Use of Clean Coal

8. Increase Renewable Sources of Energy

9. Transform our Transportation Sector

10. Modernize and Protect U.S. Energy Infrastructure

11. Address Critical Shortages of Qualified Energy Professionals

12. Reduce Overly Burdensome Regulations and Opportunities for Frivolous Legislation

13. Demonstrate Global Leadership on Energy Security and Climate Change.

Furthermore to ensure that the program is given the importance it deserves, the plan recommended the creation of a new office within the Executive Office of the President, to coordinate energy policy. The report also argues that the holder of this post should sit on the National Economic and National Security Councils. I'm guessing the President-elect has read the report. I haven't but I hope to over the next week. The importance of an energy debate within the parameters of a large national security framework bodes well for the success of the incoming Administration.

In the interest of full disclosure, General Jones also serves on the Board of Directors of Invacare Corporation, which "sells home and long-term medical products" and has served on the Boeing Corporation. The Boeing connection makes me uncomfortable because it is part of that revolving door between government and corporations. It is, at times, hard to see where government ends and corporations begin. Still on balance, I am hopeful that the energetic General James L. Jones brings to White House a wider perspective on what constitutes national security.

Author's Note: I want to thank Jerome for inviting me to contribute here at MyDD. It's an honor and privilege to be a part of this team of bloggers. My interests are more in the realm of international politics and economics and I expect my posts will be largely on those topics relating them back to US policies. In terms of domestic issues, my big issue is that of widening income inequality and correlated issues of social justice. I take the view the zenith of fairness in the US was back during the LBJ Administration and that the past 40 years has been largely a continuous assault by the GOP on the social safety net created between 1933 and 1969. I am hopeful that the incoming Obama Administration will reverse the widening divide between rich and poor.

I am also an avid student of energy issues thus Jones' appointment pleases me even if I don't wholeheartedly agree with the entire basket of proposals that Institute for 21st Century Energy is recommending.

Lastly, I take the view that blogging is best when it is a conversation. Dissent is always welcome for I find that I am sometimes wrong in my assumptions (less often on facts but it does happen), so please push the envelope.

Tags: General James Jones, NSA, Obama Foreign Policy Team (all tags)



Re: The Energetic General James L. Jones

"so please push the envelope."

heh, I should have brought you on in the primaries.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-12-01 03:14PM | 0 recs
Nah, this guy's got waaay too much...

...substance to have had his time and well-thought-out words wasted amongst the parochial going's-on around here back then.

But, now....NOW, I'm really looking forward to this addition, not just within MyDD, but as a byproduct of that, to a heightened presence for him throughout the Progressive blogosphere. (Clearly, after reading up on him over the past couple of hours, I think it's going to be a real benefit to the entire community! So...enough of this rude, third-person commentary on my part.)

It's a pleasure reading your first front-page post here, Mr. Lemos!

I'm a newbie when it comes to your stuff; and, I've just learned more about Gen'l Jones by reading your diary than I have from all of the MSM, and the not-so-MSM over the past six months.

So, I already owe ya' one.

And, as for participating in the discourse when I happen to disagree with you, count on it! (But, so far, I'm a bit hard-pressed to find many areas of disagreement.)

Being somewhat of an amateur student of 20th Century (and late 19th Century) U.S. History, as well as a very avid observer (and blogger) of the economy, I do believe I'm getting the better part of this deal! LoL!

Damn, Jerome, this is worth every cent of that money I spent to join MyDD. Oh, snap! I forgot, this place is free!

Sincerely, a big thanks to you, Jerome!

And, Charles, I'm really looking forward to reading more...much more of your commentary...

by bobswern 2008-12-01 03:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Nah, this guy's got waaay too much...

here here, its amazing how little of my energy went into following the primaries but how much on an involvement on the part of some of those reading thought that it engaged.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-12-01 05:02PM | 0 recs
Thank You, Jerome!

This is the best Christmahannakwanzakaa present you could have ever given me! This should be FUN! :-)

by atdleft 2008-12-01 07:09PM | 0 recs
I want to believe your take

but the cynic in me believes that Jones and Gates were selected in order to give Obama cover to break his campaign promises on Iraq.

by desmoinesdem 2008-12-01 03:32PM | 0 recs
Re: I want to believe your take

Obama would have to be insane to keep us in Iraq any longer. Nobody wants us there, not the American people and not the Iraqis. Getting us out of Iraq is one of Obama's top priorities. If anything, Gates and Jones give him cover to withdraw from Iraq even if things get a little dicey or chaotic over there.

The whole point of "cover" is to placate a constituency who would otherwise be skeptical. Even Dennis Kucinich and the Dalai Lama couldn't give Obama enough cover to keep us in Iraq. Liberals just won't accept it, and if anything Gates and Jones make it more important that Obama keep this promise.

by existenz 2008-12-01 03:45PM | 0 recs
Re: I want to believe your take

The team he's built to get us out of Iraq is one which will be politically unassailable, precisely because of their former support for the war. They're not going to be vulnerable to attacks frm the right. Nobody is going to accuse them of being "soft on terror."

He's handing a team of hawks the olive branch and given them a mission of peace. That seems to me to be exactly the politically effective way to achieve his goals. Nobody will question his toughness, and nobody will wonder who is in charge.

People who criticize Obama's national security team as not being "progressive enough" underestimate Obama's political will as well as his current political strength. He seems to be utterly confident of where he stands and where he wants the country to go... and anyone paying attention understand where that is. He's simply putting in place the smartest and most politically powerful team to it.

Even though it's not perfection (what is?), I find it all pretty exhilerating.

by BobzCat 2008-12-01 08:33PM | 0 recs
Re: I want to believe your take

Of course it does.  Now that Clinton is SoS, however, it'll be rainbows and unicorns for everybody.

by lojasmo 2008-12-01 04:03PM | 0 recs
Re: I want to believe your take

One reason I supported Clinton's approach on Iraq was that what matters is the situation on the ground now and not who said what or voted which way back in 2003. The DC and NY foreign policy establishment would never sign off on a departure from Iraq if the country was left in a vacuum. Thus Gates (tied to Bush 41's foreign policy team) and Clinton (tied to the Democratic foreign policy establishment) are the blend to actually get the conditions on the ground prepared for an orderly withdrawal that leaves a semblance of stability in the region. That at least seems to be the argument being made with their selection. Also recall Gates served on Baker-Hamilton Commission and Jones too questioned the wisdom of a foray into Iraq.

Still it is wise to be cynical.

by Charles Lemos 2008-12-01 05:28PM | 0 recs

Lemos as a front-pager?  Do you really want to go there?

by username 2008-12-01 03:38PM | 0 recs
That's one of the rudest. comments...

...I've seen around here in a long time.

by bobswern 2008-12-01 03:43PM | 0 recs
Re: That's one of the rudest. comments...

What MyDD have you been reading?  I could name names or dredge through the recent comments here, but it's not worth the time to disprove your claim.

I don't even think I was being rude.  He was booted from OneGoodMove after constantly pissing off the regulars.  Then, in a show of bad judgement, he moved on to NoQuarter, the racist, paranoid cesspit of the post-primary and post-convention PUMA movement.  He may have some interesting things to say, but his past record suggests he's more of a bomb-thrower.

by username 2008-12-01 03:54PM | 0 recs
Re: That's one of the rudest. comments...

"bomb thrower"

says the blackened of black kettles.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-12-01 05:03PM | 0 recs
Re: That's one of the rudest. comments...

Aw, come on, Jerome!  I wouldn't want to front-page here or anywhere else -- I don't go above firecrackers and smoke bombs.

by username 2008-12-01 05:09PM | 0 recs
Re: That's one of the rudest. comments...

I'm sorry but your facts are wrong. I speak with Norm on a near weekly basis. I was never booted from One Good Move. Ask Norm. OGM isn't a political blog, it was prudent to create my own space which is what happened. Norm actually did all the work to get BTF up and running.

Second, I allowed NQ-USA to pull posts from my blog but I actually don't contribute there. I allowed it to go on because it drove traffic but it was a mistake in hindsight. The incessant chatter over the COLB was offensive. As per the PUMA movement, that too was a mistake. They don't care for me much either. I'm not much for those who parrot right wing talking points.

Politics isn't static. I do speak my mind, that much is true. If you read my writing through the election, I largely focused on the polling and the ads. And I actually had a number of good things to say about Obama. He has flaws and attributes just like any other politician. I thought him unelectable and I was wrong. He's not my ideal either but you dance with what you got. I am cautiously optimistic that Obama can be prodded leftward. Oddly enough as his supporters have become disenchanted even before he assumes the oath of office, I have been more supportive of some his moves.

I wouldn't say I am a bomb thrower but more of an occasional provocateur certainly. There is little question that primaries were a divisive exercise but we stay in that mind-set, we will accomplish nothing.

by Charles Lemos 2008-12-01 05:06PM | 0 recs
Re: That's one of the rudest. comments...

I stand corrected.  I don't know Norm, but after a few months of consistently pissing people off over there, you quietly disappeared, and despite Norm's strong preference for Clinton, things calmed down.

Speaking as a supporter, I wouldn't call myself "disenchanted."  Obama brings more or less the combination of pragmatism, competence, inspiration, and absence of dynastic ties that led me to support him in the first place.  I also thought he was more electable than Clinton, but there's no way to test that.

As for "provocateur" vs. "bomb-thrower," a provocateur tries to make people think.  I don't see how going on about the "messiah from Honolulu" or nit-picking Latin phrases does that.  Instead, those things make people dismiss you out of hand.

by username 2008-12-01 05:22PM | 0 recs
Re: That's one of the rudest. comments...

Wait until you read some of my choicest tidbits on the GOP. You'll likely enjoy those more.

by Charles Lemos 2008-12-01 05:33PM | 0 recs
Re: That's one of the rudest. comments...

I eagerly await the guilty pleasure.  I probably just need to get on your wavelength...

by username 2008-12-01 05:39PM | 0 recs
Re: That's one of the rudest. comments...

I didn't realize he blogged over at No Quarter, that is indeed disturbing.

by Lolis 2008-12-02 07:55AM | 0 recs
welcome, by the way!

Sorry, forgot to do that before "pushing the envelope."

I can't agree with all those "13 pillars," especially putting so-called "clean coal" (a 50-year investment in the wrong direction) and nuclear (a major security and proliferation risk) ahead of restructuring our transportation sector, which would be tremendously valuable on several levels.

Above all we need to focus on conservation and efficiency, because I do not accept as a given that demand for energy has to increase by 30 percent in the U.S. by 2030.

by desmoinesdem 2008-12-01 03:38PM | 0 recs
Re: welcome, by the way!

Yea and conservation & efficiency was the first item on the list..

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2008-12-01 03:46PM | 0 recs

"Clean Coal" is an oxymoron. How the hell can coal be "clean"? Is there any proven carbon sequestration technology out there? Same goes for "Safe Nuclear". Read any of Dr. Helen Caldicott's writings on nuclear power, and you'll be frightened worse than any of the "Scream" movies.

by atdleft 2008-12-01 07:12PM | 0 recs
"Clean" coal

Not to mention the mountain-top removal process used to get at the coal to begin with.

Coal is an environmental disaster from start to finish.

by Bear83 2008-12-02 09:00AM | 0 recs
Re: welcome, by the way!

indeed. #'s 5-7 are bad - as would be expected from a group affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce.

by Quinton 2008-12-03 02:06AM | 0 recs
The Chamber of Commerce?

I guess that explains all the right-wing ideas such as more oil exploration, less regulation, fewer lawsuits, and direct advocacy of nuclear and "clean coal". While I'm glad that the Chamber of Commerce is talking nice about energy efficiency and clean energy, this doesn't mean Jim Jones is another Al Gore.

While that list specifically mentions oil, nuclear and coal, it only vaguely references "clean energy technology". No specific mentions of solar, wind, geothermal, etc. I think we know where the Institute for 21st Century energy will place their priorities.

Whoever Obama appoints as head of the Department of Energy will say a lot more about his energy priorities than Gen. Jim Jones.

by existenz 2008-12-01 03:41PM | 0 recs
Re: The Energetic General James L. Jones

Hmm a "No! Hell no!" on torture would be nice.

by MNPundit 2008-12-01 04:26PM | 0 recs
Re: The Energetic General James L. Jones

Excellent Gen. Jones info.  I'm encouraged with his selection by Obama.

by ChitownDenny 2008-12-01 04:53PM | 0 recs

I'm not interested in parlaying internet celebrity into a political consulting career.

by username 2008-12-01 05:26PM | 0 recs
i just paid $1.50 for gas

assuming gas prices stay relatively low so long as the economy remains in the tank, are we actually further away from comprehensive energy policy reforms than we were say 4 months ago?

by highgrade 2008-12-01 05:45PM | 0 recs
by ChitownDenny 2008-12-01 05:52PM | 0 recs
U.S. Chamber of Commerce experience as an asset?

Please. Experience at U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a warning sign, not something to get excited about.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce tried to buy a state Supreme Court seat and unseat our long-time progressive attorney general here in W.Va. this cycle. Before that, they spent millions pushing "tort reform" in W.Va., polluting the airways with ads bashing trial lawyers.

Of all the national organizations I can think of, I would put them right next to the NRA as enemy to all things progressive.

Having experience is not helpful if it is the wrong experience.

by WVaBlue 2008-12-02 01:15AM | 0 recs
Addressing wrong problem

Another point... the problem of "energy security" is not that we rely on other countries for energy, it's that our planet is dying... no matter where we get our energy from, if we fail to address the global climate crisis, its symptoms will cause massive global instability that threatens our country.

If a "think tank" gives you a solution for energy independence they are selling you a bill of goods.

We can cut CO2 emissions by 95% using existing technology. If he's such a smart guy, that's the kind plan he should have been pushing instead. Of course, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will never issue that report. They favor huge projects like nuclear and green-washed coal liquefaction.

by WVaBlue 2008-12-02 01:23AM | 0 recs
Gen Wesley Clark

would have been a better choice.  He was also Supreme Commander of NATO, and we know he is a Democrat.

by Bear83 2008-12-02 09:09AM | 0 recs


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