Barack Obama Is Not a Realist

In the absence of an overarching strategy, Obama's pragmatism in isolated cases doesn't build toward any larger strategic goals.

Issue: September-October 2014

IS PRESIDENT Barack Obama a foreign-policy realist? For most of his time in office, both his supporters and his detractors have said that he is—and until very recently, Obama did not dispute it. On the contrary, the White House often aggressively cultivated the image of the president as a steely-eyed pragmatist judiciously making tough calls on both international and domestic policy.

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