Obama’s list centers on John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice; and National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon. According to insiders, Obama is thinking Kerry would travel a lot and successfully, and interfere least with policymaking. Susan Rice’s blend of soft and hard line sits well in the Oval Office. Donilon is regarded as the wisest policy and political head.
The Republican contingent is somewhat elusive, because Romney’s attention has been on the primaries, and because his international experience mainly revolved around his key role in the 2002 Winter Olympics held in exotic Mormon Utah. In other words, he is not intimate with the foreign-policy crowd, even compared with Obama four years ago, who at least sat for two years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Almost certainly, however, Romney’s possibles include Robert Zoellick, the outgoing president of the World Bank; Stephen Hadley, national security adviser to George W. Bush; and Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations (an organization familiar to this author). All held senior jobs in recent Republican administrations.