Zalmay Khalilzad Out, Thomas West In as Special Representative for Afghanistan

 

Via state.gov:
As Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad steps down from his role, I extend my gratitude for his decades of service to the American people. 
Thomas West, who previously served as the Deputy Special Representative, will be the Special Representative for Afghanistan.  Special Representative West, who served on then-Vice President Biden’s national security team and on the National Security Council staff, will lead diplomatic efforts, advise the Secretary and Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, and coordinate closely with the U.S. Embassy Kabul presence in Doha on America’s interests in Afghanistan.  
I thank Ambassador Khalilzad for his service and welcome Special Representative West to the role.
Below is a longer bio via Carnegie where Thomas West previously served as a Nonresident Scholar for the South Asia Program:
Tom West was a nonresident scholar in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and an associate vice president at the Cohen Group.
West served for ten years in the U.S. Department of State and at the White House, working on South Asia and Middle East issues. From 2012 to 2015, he served on the National Security Council (NSC) as director for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and as a special adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden. He served a concurrent stint as the NSC’s director for Yemen. From 2011 to 2012, West served as the State Department’s senior diplomat in the Kunar province of Afghanistan, where he managed the civilian staff of a U.S.-led provincial reconstruction team. He worked at the State Department in Washington on a variety of issues, including the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Initiative, Washington’s response to the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and U.S.-Pakistan relations. He also served as a political officer in Islamabad and Karachi.
West received his BA in international studies from the Johns Hopkins University and an MA in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). 

Who Knew What When: Reports on Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops in Afghanistan #SpeakUp

 

Who Will be Secretary of State in January 2017? Giuliani and Bolton Reported as Front Runners

Posted: 3:31 am ET
Updated: 12:13 pm PT
Updated: 2:57 pm PT
[twitter-follow screen_name=’Diplopundit’ ]

 

Updated: 2:57 pm | Media reports now say that the front-runners for the SecState job are former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former UN Ambassador John Bolton. Also included in the rumor mill is Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations who served under the Bush Administration. Given that Giuliani was one of the president-elect’s most aggressive surrogate during the campaign, it is conceivable that he will get this job if he wants it. But since no announcement has been made yet … we’ll continue hearing updates on who is  favored, or “being vetted” or who is “close” to being named 69th Secretary of State.

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We previously blogged about the names floated around as the next Secretary of State. In October, career diplomat Bill Burns was the prediction market’s favorite (see Who will be Secretary of State on Jan. 31, 2017?).  As of this writing, the former UN Ambassador John Bolton is running at $0.53 cents in the prediction market, way ahead of SFRC’s Senator Bob Corker and former House Speaker New Gingrich.

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There may be a good reason for it.  It looks like Newt Gingrich has taken himself out of the running:

The New York Times has a short-list of  other possibles including Zalmay Khalilzad, a former ambassador to Afghanistan,  and retired General Stanley McChrystal.

We don’t know who will eventually end up in Foggy Bottom, but here is former Ambassador John Bolton in an interview with Hugh Hewitt back in August 2016, who endorsed the former for the cabinet position with then candidate Trump.

On November 12, the National Review writes that “none is better suited to the job than former U.N. ambassador John Bolton.”

Bolton has been around the block—starting his career as a protégé of James A. Baker III—but has never become an establishmentarian or lost his edge. He would understand that he is the president’s emissary to the State Department, not the other way around, and avoid getting captured by Foggy Bottom’s bureaucrats the way, say, a Colin Powell did, or others with less experience likely would.

The National Review editorial went all in and writes that “John Bolton is an ideal pick, and his appointment would be a sign that the Trump administration intends to get off to a strong start.” 

Random person online says,”He will make heads explode!” In Washington DC and Turtle Bay. So apparently, that is a potential attraction at the Internets near you.

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