Less than a month after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton distanced herself from President Obama by ridiculing his foreign policy, a key member of the Clinton kitchen cabinet is out with a new book that slams U.S. policy as “muddled, irresolute, and even feckless.”
Doug Schoen’s double-barreled blast at Obama in the new book, The Russia-China Axis: The New Cold War and America’s Crisis of Leadership, is the latest sign that Clinton’s team will throw Obama under the bus if that’s what it takes to get her into the White House.
“President Obama’s America is a passive, confused and ineffective superpower,” opens the book.
In the searing critique, Schoen, a polling giant who aided Bill Clinton’s reelection, and co-author and journalist Melik Kaylan argue that Obama hasn’t just been one of the weakest presidents in decades, but is putting the United States in danger.
"Unless we fundamentally change the foreign-policy approach we have followed under President Obama, we will continue to lose ground — as will the cause of democracy and freedom around the world,” the duo wrote in the book from Encounter Books.
Echoing Hillary Clinton’s slap at her former boss last month in an Atlantic Magazine interview, they added, “The world’s superpower has no foreign-policy vision or strategy — unless one believes that Obama’s doctrine of ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is visionary or that his resolute selling of his policies as anti-Bush and anti-war is a workable framework for dealing with a dangerous world."
Schoen is a founding partner of the powerhouse Democratic polling firm Penn, Schoen & Berland, which includes Mark Penn, a top advisor to Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid. The book raises red flags over warming relations between China and Russia and suggests that the U.S. better wake up and challenge the new “axis” or get left behind.
In a Politico column a year ago, Schoen said that for Clinton to win in 2016, “she must make it clear that she will take the country in a fundamentally different direction from the current administration.” His book provides a path, according to excerpts provided to Secrets.
It offers a neutral or favorable view of Clinton, giving her credit for opening markets for American businesses overseas and for consistently taking a harder line than Obama.
But it is frank when addressing Obama and his policies. “American policy is muddled, irresolute, and even feckless — as was powerfully symbolized in June 2014, when the Obama administration stood by as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the al-Qaeda offshoot, quickly overran cities in Iraq,” the duo write.
"The United States has no clear strategy other than retrenchment and the minimization of genuine threats,” adds the book.
On Obama’s promise to strike Syria if they cross a “red line” for using chemical weapons: “President Obama threatened Assad with missile strikes in August 2013 after the dictator used chemical weapons against rebel groups and civilians, but at the last moment Obama completely reversed himself, making the term ‘red line’ into an international synonym for spinelessness.”
On his view of the nuclear arsenal: “Logic and history argue against all of President Obama’s naive assumptions and his reckless insistence that the United States can maintain its current level of security without a large nuclear advantage.”
On letting the Pentagon get whacked by the budget sequester: “Under President Obama’s often rudderless leadership, the United States not only lacks a clear strategy but also has been forced to implement a series of additional automatic cuts, mandated by the budget sequester, that experts across the board — including the last two defense secretaries, Republican Robert Gates and Democrat Leon Panetta — agree will be profoundly damaging.”Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com.