WASHINGTON — Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney on Thursday announced his team of foreign policy and national security advisers, which draws heavily on top aides to former president George W. Bush.
Romney, once again the frontrunner in the race for the party's presidential nomination, became the first Republican candidate in the 2012 field to offer such a detailed accounting of who might help manage US relations with the world if they won.
"America and our allies are facing a series of complex threats. To shape them before they explode into conflict, our foreign policy will have to be guided by a strategy of American strength," Romney said in a press release.
The list notably includes veterans of Bush's policy on Iraq -- including Dan Senor, spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority that governed the country in the bloody aftermath of the March 2003 US-led invasion.
It also comprises Meghan O'Sullivan, who served as Bush's deputy national security adviser on Iraq and Afghanistan and was a strong advocate of the US troop "surge" to quell sectarian violence after Saddam Hussein's ouster.
She will advise Romney on the Middle East and North Africa.
Former CIA chief Michael Hayden, who oversaw Bush's controversial warrantless wiretapping of US citizens, and former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff will advise Romney on counter-terrorism and intelligence.
"It's a strong and diverse team," according to Michael O'Hanlon, a foreign policy and national security analyst at the Brookings Institution think tank.
"It includes pragmatists and those with stronger views, and lots of experienced veterans, and also I think some good Asia people," he said.
"The bigger question may be how they'd work as a team, rather than their individual talents," O'Hanlon told AFP.
Cofer Black, who was at the helm of the CIA's counter-terrorism center when the September 11, 2001 attacks took place, and later went on to play a key role in the agency's use of harsh interrogation techniques widely considered torture, is listed as a "special adviser" to Romney.
Robert Joseph, the top counter-proliferation official at Bush's national security council and later at the US State Department, and Eric Edelman, a former top national security adviser to former vice president Dick Cheney, count among Romney's top advisers on counter-proliferation.
Joseph notably was a key architect of Bush's Proliferation Security Initiative, a partnership between Washington and key allies to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of rogue regimes and extremists.
Senor, Hayden, Black and Joseph were on a list of 22 special advisers which also included Paul Dobriansky, Eliot Cohen, John Danilovich, Eric Edelman, who all held posts in the Bush administration.
Dobriansky was under secretary of state for Democracy and Global Affairs, Cohen was a Defense Policy Advisory Board member, Danilovich was ambassador to Costa Rica and Brazil, and Edelman was under secretary of defense for policy.
Ashley Tellis, a South Asia expert for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who was a State Department adviser in 2003, will co-chair a group on Afghanistan and Pakistan.
And Aaron Friedberg, who was a national security security expert for vice president Dick Cheney, will advise Romney on Asia-Pacific affairs.
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