Obama: Trump Doesn’t Have ‘Patience,’ ‘Focus’ to Change U.S. Foreign Policy

Former President Barack Obama said in an interview with on the “Pod Save America” podcast on Wednesday that President Donald Trump didn’t “have the patience and the focus to really substantially change a lot of U.S. foreign policy.”

Tommy Vietor asked, “You spent countless hours with Vice President Biden talking about national security. What did you learn about how he thinks about diplomacy and counterterrorism and the use of military force that others would not have seen?”

Obama said, “Well, a couple of things. One, and I think this is most important, is when people ask me what surprised me most about the presidency, you know, what I always tell them is: I understood but didn’t fully appreciate the degree to which we kind of underwrite the international order. And in the sense that even our enemies can expect us to behave like adults on the international stage. You know, if there’s a crisis somewhere, people don’t call Moscow or Beijing. They call us and say, ‘What are we going to do to help?’ If there is ethnic cleansing, if there is a conflict, if there is a natural disaster. And the reason that we can serve in that role, even if we’re not perfect, is that we have the infrastructure. We have experienced diplomats. We have  institutional traditions that allow us to show leadership on the international stage — whether it’s in the Paris Peace Accords, whether it’s on the Iran Deal, you name it.”

He continued, “The thing that over the last four years, it’s not as if Trump has been all that active internationally. I mean, the truth is he doesn’t have the patience and the focus to really substantially change a lot of US foreign policy. What he’s done is he’s systematically tried to decimate our entire foreign policy infrastructure. And the thing I know about Joe is that he respects people who know history and have expertise, and he’s going to pay attention to somebody who has worked in Africa to find out, like, ‘how should I deal with a particular crisis there’ as opposed to calling it a bunch of I won’t say the word countries, right? He has a respect and understanding for what American leadership can do.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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