David Sanger, one of the best reporters out there, wrote an overview of President Obama’s recent overseas trip. It’s neither positive nor negative–just a fair look at what he did and didn’t accomplish, and how much of a “grand strategy” we’re beginning to see (and he warns against looking for a grand strategy, especially so soon). He quotes one Obama adviser as saying, “This trip was more about reattaching all the cars on the train and convincing the other leaders that we’re no longer headed for derailment.”
He also writes, “Tellingly, Mr. Obama talked about taking on terrorists but not tyrants. Al Qaeda had to be destroyed, he said, but Iran, North Korea and Cuba would all be engaged. Gone was Mr. Bush’s signature line that ‘freedom is on the march’ or the insistence that democracy was a God-given right.” So some foreign policy themes may be emerging.
I’ve also been hearing about Sanger’s book “The Inheritance,” which looks at the foreign policy world that Obama inherited from the Bush administration. People like Jim Lehrer, Bob Schieffer, and Michael Beschloss laud the book. It evidently gives all kinds of inside dope that hasn’t yet made the light of day, with some stories that sound like they come from a Le Carre novel. I may need to get this one.