Previous postings raised questions about potential nominees to Obama Administration positions regarding their views on Israel, Iran, the Palestinians, and other issues. Today, I focus on reasons to have confidence that the incoming team will do positive things in the Middle East. Many of the candidates already nominated or rumored to be likely appointees, are well known to and highly regarded by AIPAC and other pro-Israel

organizations. My colleagues, and in some cases I, had contacts and dealings with each of these people over the years, and we had evidence that gave us confidence. This includes Rahm Emmanuel, Chief of Staff to the President; Ron Klain, Chief of Staff to Vice President Biden; Jim Steinberg, likely to be Deputy National Security Adviser or National Security Adviser to Obama; Tony Blinken, likely to be National Security Adviser to the Vice President; Greg Craig, White House Counsel; Pete Rouse, White House adviser; Jim Messina, Deputy Chief of Staff to the president; Phil Schiliro, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs; Dennis Ross, rumored for several top diplomatic positions; Jack Lew, rumored to head the National Economic Council; Jane Harman and Tony Lake, rumored for top intelligence positions; Janet Napolitano, who will head the Department of Homeland Security; Richard Danzig, probable Deputy Secretary of Defense; Richard Clarke, rumored for a ntational security post,; and many others. Not to mention Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Barack Obama. That certainly doesn't mean we never had disagreements or will never, but this looks like it will be an Administration full of people quite capable of making wise decisions in the Middle East.

That said, I will continue to look for potential problems among possible nominees and policy developments. Airplane crashes are news; safe takeoffs and landings are not. That is not to imply that most planes crash, but to focus on those that did or might and what needs to be done to prevent it. It is important to look at the warts, but it is even more important to see the face. In that spirit, I will continue to call attention to things that seem troubling or wrongheaded or naïve or gullible--not to say, these are all devils, but to say, here is something wrong.