Read: August 2020

Inspiration: What events shaped the US into its current place on the global stage? (recommended by a friend)


Written with the help of ChatGPT, below is a brief summary to understand what is covered in the book.

“The World as It Is”, published in 2018 by former Obama Administration foreign policy advisor Ben Rhodes, reflects on Rhodes’ experiences working in the White House and his role in shaping American foreign policy. He discusses the major challenges and events that the Obama administration faced, including the global financial crisis, the Arab Spring, and the rise of China and other powers. The book is divided into several chapters, each of which looks at a different aspect of the Obama administration’s foreign policy and the events that shaped it. Some of the topics covered in the book include the Iran nuclear deal, the conflict in Syria, and the relationship between the United States and Russia. Throughout the book, Rhodes provides an insider’s perspective on the workings of the White House and the decision-making process of the Obama administration. He also offers insights into the complex and often conflicting forces that shape American foreign policy and the challenges of leading a country in an increasingly interconnected and globalized world. Overall, “The World as It Is” offers an insightful look at the Obama administration’s foreign policy and the world it faced.

Unedited Notes

Direct from my original book log, below are my unedited notes (abbreviations and misspellings included) to show how I take notes as I read.

Agencies within government have more continuity (staff doesn’t all change) and goals don’t change with new president so campaign promises not get reflected as easily, Al Qaeda attack america vs taliban domestic actor in Afghan (Obama focus on pushing back taliban to defeat al qaeda but want to limit escalation of mote troops as possible), Arab Spring start in tunisia burning man to overthrow dictators—Egypt and Mubarak was first major event for US (Obama with young protestors, Clinton with Mubarak and Gulf allies), “All foreign policy is an extension of personal relationships” (Biden), then to Libya with Gaddafi and decide to intervene, Benghazi attack in Libya fueled by internet video mocking Muhammad, challenge approving strikes when Assad used chemical weapons on people in Syria crossing “red line” (people say never again but not willing to do anything in Congress), Iran deal 2013 plummet chances of war and talk with Rouhani first contact since 1979 islamic revolution (“it is not a reward to talk to folks”), Putin all about patriarchy/antiglobalist/religion/tribe), 10 day period June 2015–trump announce run, bible study shooting, ACA upheld, gay marriage in favor, Trump not possible without 9/11

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Welcome to JeffReads, where I share summaries of the best books I’ve read on business, politics, science, technology and more.




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