Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 20, 2014

Has Obama Bungled Foreign Policy?

Marc Ambinder reviews Vali Nasr’s new book, The Dispensable Nation, and calls it “the most trenchant criticism of the Obama administration I’ve yet read.”

“I have some problems with Nasr’s account, including his minimization of Obama’s own commitment to global non-proliferation, which is one reason why it would be folly for Iran to nuclearize under Obama’s watch, and with his reading of Iran’s repeated efforts to negotiate with the U.S. as something other than a consequence of successful economic and covert pressure.”

“But I find many of his arguments to be compelling. Russia and China were given keys to the vault in order to get them on board with economic sanctions; in many ways, U.S. policy is pushing rogue countries right into ‘the bosom’ of China and Russia.”

  • MrBeale

    Ask Osama bin Laden and Mohmar Gaddafi how they feel about Obama’s foreign policy.

    • Lorehead

      I would argue, actually, that the Libya intervention was a strategic mistake. There’s no particularly clear thesis taking form as I read that summary; how is it that wanting to stop Iran from getting nukes without military action is, he believes, a good thing, but “Iran’s nuclear cravings are too deep to be filled by sanctions?” Would pushing Iran into the arms of a great-power patron be a bad thing if that patron did not see it as in its own interest for Iran to have nuclear weapons, but could provide a comparable level of security? The complaint that the U.S. is spending so much blood and treasure in the Middle East for goals that mainly benefit China is well-taken, but does it make sense to worry simultaneously about that and about China gaining influence in the Middle East if we become less involved?

      • ASRKC

        After arguing with you last week, I agree with you this week.

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