Clinton announces new envoys Mitchell and Holbrooke… but not Dennis Ross.

Standing beside President Obama and Vice President Biden this afternoon, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the appointment of two high-level diplomats who will serve in critical global hot-spots. “The heart of smart power are smart people,” Clinton said, announcing the appointments of Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell and Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke. “I have given you an early gift,” Obama told State Department employees, “Hillary Clinton. … She has my full confidence.”


It had been rumored that former Ambassador Dennis Ross would also be announced today as an envoy to Iran. NBC reports Ross will “not be a special envoy to Iran…but he is expected to be in charge of Iran policy.” Yglesias writes that there are some doubts about Ross’s ability to be an effective diplomat with Iranians, given that he was “was widely criticized in the Arab world for being too tight with the Israeli side during the Camp David process.”