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On Iran and Russia, Obama Gambling for More Time

Nikolas Gvosdev Friday, July 25, 2014

It is axiomatic that almost any foreign policy action taken by President Barack Obama will be reflexively criticized by the Republican opposition. What is striking is how, in recent months, congressional Democrats and former Obama administration officials have been more willing to publicly voice their own critiques of the president’s performance. Even his first-term secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, now positioning herself for a possible 2016 run to succeed him as chief executive, has begun to lay out her differences with Obama on how he has handled the national security portfolio.

Most of the critiques follow a common narrative: that Obama’s willingness to offer tough rhetoric has not been matched by decisive follow-on actions. In so doing, the president sends forward a message of American weakness, fecklessness and unreliability. ...

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