Elliott Abrams to Parachute to Council on Foreign Relations

I guess this is breaking news on which I hope to have more to write later (I have a deadline on reporting Obama’s greenhouse-related announcements today), but I just confirmed that Elliott Abrams, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Near East and North African Affairs since December 2002 and Deputy National Security Adviser for Global Democracy Strategy since 2005, will begin work as a Senior Fellow at the sparkling new Washington offices of the Council on Foreign Relations (less than block from his old office) in mid-February.

Abrams, the highest-ranking neo-conservative left in the Bush administration when it finally decamped last week, served, along with help from Dick Cheney’s office, as the bureaucratic foil for former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s efforts to inject some momentum into the Annapolis peace process; tried to persuade the Israelis to widen their 2006 war against Hezbollah to include Syria; and no doubt steadfastly encouraged the Olmert government to pursue its Gaza war as vigorously and as long as possible. To the extent that U.S. influence in the Middle East has diminished over the past six years, Abrams can claim a good share of the credit. And his strategy to spread democracy globally (especially in the Middle East) appears to have prospered in a similar fashion.

Perhaps he’ll be asked to take over Bill Kristol’s column at the Times.

Jim Lobe

Jim Lobe served for some 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service and is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the neoconservative movement.



  1. Elliott Abrams can not be blamed for all that went wrong with Bush’s democracy promotion policy in the Middle East. The idea was right – people there deserve to be free, the implementation was lacking. The administration should have encouraged reform in the states’ institutions, so they become more accountable, building a civil society from the bottom-up, and only then pushing for elections. That way, none of the Islamists parties would have gained so much power as they did in Egypt, Palestinian Authority and Jordan. The people in the Middle East were tired of the old corrupt dictatorships and the only viable alternatives were the Islamists parties, supported by Saudi Arabia and Iran.

  2. To Liz,
    Yes the people of the middle east are in fact tired of corrupt dictatorships, many of whom who were put into power by the efforts of such people as Abrams from our Americna Gov’t. This is why so much of the arab world has saluted the Hezbollah movement. A movement which has its strength wholly from its region and the people in it. It is important to add also that this a movement that is strikingly free of the corruption and self service that most arab rulers have come to be known for. This imperium inside the US is a cancer that is preventing not peace in the middle east, but a self determing Gov’t within the US itself

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