Former Obama Aide: President’s Foreign Policy ‘Strictly Politics’

Wednesday, 13 Mar 2013 12:45 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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A former foreign policy aide to President Barack Obama has written a scorching new tell-all that claims the commander-in-chief’s decisions "from start to finish were guided by politics” and is critical of his national security team.

“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,” Vali Nasr writes in "The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat,” out next month from Doubleday.

Nasr’s book — as reported by Fox News — says Obama’s first-term administration was troubled by infighting.

According to Fox, Nasr found the late Richard Holbrooke, Obama’s special adviser on Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “waging an often unsuccessful battle to pierce the Berlin Wall" and present their views to the president.

The book also charges that White House aides “used targeted leaks and other means to ‘undermine’ Holbrooke — and worked hard to cut Clinton out of critical policymaking, too,” Fox reports.

"Those in Obama's inner circle, veterans of his election campaign, were suspicious of Clinton," Nasr writes in an excerpt from the book published on ForeignPolicy.com.

"Even after Clinton proved she was a team player, they remained concerned about her popularity and feared that she could overshadow the president . . . Had it not been for Clinton's tenacity and the respect she commanded, the State Department would have had no influence on policymaking whatsoever."

Nasr's book also portrays the president as "dithering" on key Afghan war decisions and quick to abandon foreign policy promises made during his campaign, according to Fox.

The State Department has denied the claims in Nsar’s tome.



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