Foreign policy, which President Barack Obama was able to present as a strength during his campaign, is now turning into a weakness amid the turmoil with some of his top personnel.
CIA Director David Petraeus was forced to resign because of an extramarital affair. And Obama has put the nomination of Marine Gen. John Allen to be commander of NATO on hold amid allegations he too may have had an affair.
On the non-scandalous side, both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta are expected to leave the administration next year.
“Some of what appears to be tumult is just the unfortunate coincidence of two separate strands of transition that are happening at once,” Peter Feaver, a National Security Council staffer under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, told Politico
Those two strands are the scandals and the retirements. The latter are “natural in a second term and were going to be controversial anyway,” he said.
For Obama, the timing isn’t good as he faces plenty of issues in Afghanistan, Iran, and the Mideast as a whole. Moreover, he’s under pressure from congressional Republicans about his handling of the September killings of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
China is another thorny issue for the president. Harvard professor Graham Allison believes Obama should follow what President John F. Kennedy called “precarious rules of the status quo” between the United States and the Soviet Union, The Washington Post, reports. The idea is to speak regularly about major issues and agree not to make aggressive moves in each other’s geographic region.
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