The most interesting thing the Obama foreign policy folks are admitting now that Obama is out is how he undermined world order and the interests of the United States.
Many of the most head-snapping comments I heard came from Obama’s own top advisers, who had long pushed him to confront Assad more aggressively and viewed his 2013 refusal to take military action against Syria after drawing a “red line” on chemical weapons use as a major American foreign policy debacle. There’s no love lost for Trump in this group, whose members found themselves in the uncomfortable position of cheering a leader they still both loathe and fear.
“Our administration never would have gotten this done in 48 hours,” one former senior official of the Obama administration told me. “It’s a complete indictment of Obama.”
“I feel like finally we have done the right thing,” Anne-Marie Slaughter, who served as Obama’s first-term chief of policy planning at the State Department and long publicly urged a more forceful response to Assad’s horrific attacks on civilians during the six years of war that have wracked Syria, told me. “The years of hypocrisy just hurt us all. It undermined the U.S., it undermined the world order.”
Slaughter, now the head of the New America Foundation and a major backer of Trump’s defeated opponent Hillary Clinton last November, tweeted, “Donald Trump has done the right thing on Syria. Finally!! After years of useless handwringing in the face of atrocities.” I later asked her if it was awkward to be cheering for Trump now. “I’m just glad to see it,” she said. “It was the right thing.”