Assessing Obama’s Legacy in National Security Policy

President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the Cross Hall in the White House in Washington, Sept. 10, 2014 (AP photo by Saul Loeb).
President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the Cross Hall in the White House in Washington, Sept. 10, 2014 (AP photo by Saul Loeb).
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Scholars and pundits have built careers writing about the national security legacy of American presidents. How they do so is important, because every president’s perceived legacy influences candidates and elected leaders who come later. Take, for instance, the consensus that Jimmy Carter’s national security policy was a failure. For years candidates and leaders have rejected any ideas or even rhetoric that seems “Carteresque.” By contrast, Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy is generally considered a success. Hence candidates and leaders since his time, particularly within the GOP, have modeled their national security positions on his. In a very real sense, presidential legacy […]

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