Vali Nasr criticizes Obama’s foreign policy in a new book, ‘The Dispensable nation.’ Mr. Nasr was a senior foreign policy expert in the State Department (senior advisor to Mr. Holbrooke) and is currently the dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in DC. Mr. Nasr described the administration’s handling of the war thusly, “The precepts were how to make the conduct of this war politically safe for the administration rather than to solve the problem in a way that would protect America’s long-run national security interests.” Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s fiction writer, strongly disputes Mr. Nasr’s portrayal of events.
Mr. Nasr believes the Obama administration was disengaged, overly cautious, and overly political. Isn’t that what we have seen on every issue?
Key points made in the book:
The politically-minded aides in the White House butted heads with State, omitting John Holbrooke from conferences with Karzai. Holbrooke was left out of a presidential trip to Kabul which undermined his credibility with Afghans.
White House staff feared the Clintons and didn’t trust Hillary. General Mullins said they wanted to control everything. Mrs. Clinton had to go around the “Berlin Wall” to speak directly with Obama.
Holbrooke was opposed to the troop buildup in Afghanistan but wanted to use it as leverage in negotiations with the Taliban but Obama rushed to announce a troop pullout. It was vital leverage needed to deal with the Taliban.
Mr. Obama refused to take risks (he voted present) in war time and “was happy with the narrative of modest success in Afghanistan and gradual withdrawal.”
Read in the NY Times