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The Obama Doctrine [ Jeffrey Goldberg / The Atlantic ]

March 11, 2016

Jeffrey Goldberg puts together a compilation of interview fragments with President Obama, focusing on foreign policy. It is an article that is sure to keep bloggers busy for many days. Go ‘head, make yourself a fresh pot of coffee, because it’s a long one.

The title suggests that we can distill the conversations between JG and the President into a set of beliefs that can be expressed in an orderly way. I’m not totally sure of that, but there is much to read and think about here.

obama-cameron-dinner President Obama’s dinner anecdote takes an unexpected turn. 

Those questioning the President’s Syria policy will be relieved to know the President believed that the anti-Assad forces, in 2013, were “doctors, engineers, and farmers”, and badly need the help of “a clandestine CIA-aided army of 10,000 rebels”, to give them a fighting chance. (Ahem.)

Hillary Clinton watchers will wonder why the President is throwing the former Secretary of State under the bus, saying the Libya intervention was her idea, and calling it a “sh*t show”.

Chinese ascendantists will be alarmed to hear that President Obama thinks Hillary may be less sympathetic to a rising eastern power than he was.

Those looking for a coherent explanation of US policy vs Russia will continue to be frustrated.

Fans of the President in general will be relieved to know his opinion on these issues was subtle and nuanced, although he occasionally allowed those below him to decide on actual actions, especially in cases they didn’t work out so well.

Lastly, but fortunately – Barring any huge surprises in the remainder of this year, we can agree with the article that at least President Obama’s foreign policy was not as bad as that of G.W.Bush.




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