Friday, March 11, 2016

Obama Disses Think Tanks

Now that President Barack Obama is less than a year away from leaving office, he can start to speak his mind and let off some steam.  And what is on his mind about think tanks is not pretty.  The truth: He really doesn't like many of them.

In a lengthy piece about President Obama, The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg reports this:
By 2013, Obama’s resentments were well developed. He resented military leaders who believed they could fix any problem if the commander in chief would simply give them what they wanted, and he resented the foreign-policy think-tank complex. A widely held sentiment inside the White House is that many of the most prominent foreign-policy think tanks in Washington are doing the bidding of their Arab and pro-Israel funders. I’ve heard one administration official refer to Massachusetts Avenue, the home of many of these think tanks, as “Arab-occupied territory.”

Foreign Policy highlighted this quote in a piece entitled "Obama, Uncensored: National Security Edition."  Under the subtitle "Rage Against Think Tanks," FP notes that a common theme throughout The Atlantic article is President Obama's "frustration with Washington's pundit class, which Obama said seeks to enforce a 'playbook' to world events that often involves 'militarized responses.'"

Think Tank Watch finds it a bit ironic that President Obama dislikes a number of think tanks while many of his top foreign policy aides were hand-picked directly from think tank land, including the Brookings Institution, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Center for a New American Security (CNAS), and Center for American Progress (CAP).

Here is a Think Tank Watch list of Obama Administration officials who have taken the "revolving door" from government work into the think tank world.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch piece on President Obama's "favorite" think tank.

Now that President Obama will be staying in Washington, DC for at least a couple of years, will he be joining a think tank or starting his own?  Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on that very question.

Our guess is that he won't be living anywhere near think tank row...