WASHINGTON, June 21 (UPI) — Ever since Mitt Romney announced his team of 22 special advisers on foreign policy and national security issues and 13 separate regional and issue-oriented working groups, three distinct factions have emerged, competing for the candidate’s attention and approval.

The first group comes under the rubric of “Trade and Competitiveness.” Its leader is Havana-born Carlos Gutierrez, 59, former Commerce secretary (2005-09), vice chairman of Citigroup’s Institutional Clients Group, former chairman and chief executive officer of Kellogg. Co-chair: Grant Aldonas, former undersecretary for International Trade at the Commerce Department and member of the board of the Overseas Private Investment Corp. (2001-05).

Gutierrez and Aldonas see more and better free trade agreements with low tariffs as the key to peace and prosperity. They don’t believe in covert operations and are described by friends as country club Republicans.

The second faction is known as the neo-conservatives who believe that the national security interests of the United States and Israel are almost always identical. Long-time neocon stalwarts have been pushed to the side in favor of Eric S. Edelman, 61, a career foreign service officer who was principal deputy assistant to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney for National Security (2001-03); former undersecretary of Defense for Policy (2005-09); former ambassador to Finland and Turkey; recipient of highest awards from both the State and Defense departments; now visiting scholar at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Read More at upi.com. By Arnaud De Borchgrave.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)

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