The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House to Redefine American Power

James Mann, Author, Jim Mann, Author
James Mann. Viking, $26.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-670-02376-9
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Journalist Mann, coauthor of Rise of the Vulcans, offers an insider’s account of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy team and argues that this coterie of trusted advisors “thought of themselves as a new generation in American foreign policy history.” Mann suggests that this administration tried to break with Vietnam-era and Clinton administration foreign policy legacies while inheriting two wars and facing a world suspicious of American motivations and skeptical of its influence. The mix of realism and idealism has been largely successful, Mann argues, because Obama’s technocratic side freed him from ideological constraints and allowed him to rely heavily on Robert Gates (Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush), Bush-era policy mandarin Brent Scowcroft, and, in a dramatic and adroit move, political rival Hillary Clinton. To Mann, an Obama-led America has tried to tell the world what it stands for, as well as what it’s against. His foreign policy has had some notable successes, from the airtight secrecy before launching the raid that killed Osama bin Laden to intervening in Libya without making a lasting American commitment. According to Mann, Obama’s goal of “rebalancing” American foreign policy has largely succeeded, creating a relatively positive footing for “an era when American primacy is no longer taken for granted.” Agent: Rafe Sagalyn, The Sagalyn Agency. (June)
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