- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.
In the hot new issue of Foreign Policy, Vali Nasr, now dean at Johns Hopkins SAIS, but formerly at the State Department, offers a scathing portrayal of President Obama’s national security team. The villain of the piece appears as "the White House," which is referred to 63 times, most of them negative. Readers of this blog will not be surprised by Nasr’s conclusion that "the president had a truly disturbing habit of funneling major foreign-policy decisions through a small cabal of relatively inexperienced White House advisors whose turf was strictly politics."
Every administration has turf fights, but this article makes me thinks Obama’s have been memorably bad. Other examples:
- "At times it appeared the White House was more interested in bringing Holbrooke down than getting the policy right."
- The White House "jealously guarded all foreign policymaking."
- "Turf battles are a staple of every administration, but the Obama White House has been particularly ravenous."
- "Had it not been for Clinton’s tenacity and the respect she commanded, the State Department would have had no influence on policymaking whatsoever. The White House had taken over most policy areas: Iran and the Arab-Israeli issue were for all practical purposes managed from the White House."
Vali Nasr: How Obama let diplomacy fail in Afghanistan; Johnson on DOMA; The bumper sticker for the Hagel era; Why a Air Force general’s decision could animate reformers on sexual assault; Get your sequester T-shirt!; And more.Gordon Lubold
Gordon Lubold is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy. He is also the author of FP's Situation Report, an e-mailed newsletter that is blasted out to more than 70,000 national security and foreign affairs subscribers each morning that includes the top nat-sec news, breaking news, tidbits, nuggets and what he likes to call "candy." Before arriving at FP, he was a senior advisor at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, where he wrote on national security and foreign policy. Prior to his arrival at USIP, he was a defense reporter for Politico, where he launched the popular Morning Defense early morning blog and tip-sheet. Prior to that, he was the Pentagon and national security correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, and before that he was the Pentagon correspondent for the Army Times chain of newspapers. He has covered conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries in South Asia, and has reported on military matters in sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and Latin America as well as at American military bases across the country. He has spoken frequently on the sometimes-contentious relationship between the military and the media as a guest on numerous panels. He also appears on radio and television, including on CNN, public radio's Diane Rehm and To the Point, and C-SPAN's Washington Journal. He lives in Alexandria with his wife and two children.| Situation Report |