With Chas Freeman Out, Who Really Loses?
Now that Chas Freeman is out of a job -- and this is clearly a win for advocates of Chinese human rights and liberalism and empiricism and not other issues; Chuck Schumer is obviously playing for votes in Chinatown -- it's worth considering something. The other day, I wrote that Freeman's critics win with him as National Intelligence Council chairman, because it would allow them to marginalize the NIC's findings if they should ever find them inconvenient. That's clearly gone.
But perhaps there's more to it. Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, clearly wanted Freeman to stay. He defended Freeman unequivocally to GOP Senators in a letter Friday and again today in open testimony. Greg Sargent's reporting suggests that the Obama administration declined to stand by Freeman in the face of criticism. What's the likelihood that Blair has much patience with the arguments or the protestations of good faith made by Freeman's critics in the future? In the long run, as I wrote earlier, Freeman is a minor player and the NIC chairmanship became a backwater in the previous administration. Obviously Blair's role isn't a policy role. But this crowd is probably dead to Dennis Blair going forward.
Update: Let's add this: