Hamilton Knocks Obama’s Progress on Foreign Policy

Posted September 27, 2010 at 5:14pm

President Barack Obama has not made “an awful lot of progress” on foreign policy since taking office, according to Lee Hamilton, the Democratic vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission and former chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Hamilton, who represented Indiana’s 9th district for 34 years, said Obama has taken some different approaches to foreign policy from his predecessor, President George W. Bush. But overall, his foreign policy is “still very much a work in progress,” Hamilton said Monday in an interview with National Public Radio.

“Iran is still building a nuclear weapon. The North Koreans still have the nuclear weapon. And you kind of go down the list, and you see that not an awful lot of progress has been made,” Hamilton said.

The 9/11 Commission leader said the toughest foreign policy question for Obama, or any president, is when to intervene. The key is getting “our ambitions in line with our resources” when it comes to policies toward Afghanistan and Iraq, he said.

“Can we build a new nation in Afghanistan? I don’t think so. Can we build a new nation in Iraq? I don’t think so there, either,” he said. “To what extent should we try? Well, legitimate points of debate and discussion, but I have a sharp sense of limitations.”