Not terribly surprising, but I have it from a reliable source that Elliott Abrams, currently Deputy National Security Adviser for Global Democracy Strategy who also heads the NSC’s Near East office, is regularly briefing the McCain campaign — Randy Scheunemann appears to be the main contact — and has told friends and colleagues that he is confident that he will get a top post in a McCain administration. Now, assuming Abrams is not talking through his hat, I very much doubt that a Democratic-majority Senate would confirm Abrams, who pleaded guilty to essentially lying to Congress during the Iran-Contra affair, to any position that required confirmation (especially as long as Chris Dodd, who clashed frequently and bitterly with Abrams when the latter served as Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs under Reagan, remains alive). That would leave his current abode — the NSC — as his most likely destination. But he is already a deputy national security adviser. Does that mean that he thinks he will be THE Deputy National Security Adviser — in charge of the day-to-day operations of the NSC — or even THE National Security Adviser in the McCain White House?
Abrams is no fool, and his political instincts have always been very sharp, so, unless my informant is mistaken, I assume he has reason to feel confident about his future under McCain. If so, there can remain really very little doubt that McCain’s foreign policy will be thoroughly neo-conservative and very aggressive; a replay of Bush’s first term. After all, it was Abrams, backed by Cheney, who drove the isolation policy against Hamas (so much for democracy promotion!); it was Abrams who suggested to Israeli leaders that they extend the 2006 war with Hezbollah to Syria; it was Abrams who, for all practical purposes, undermined Rice’s efforts to get a Israel-Palestine framework agreement before Bush leaves office. Among many other things.