Help me find this anecdote about Obama
August 2, 2016 1:49 PM   Subscribe

I vaguely remember reading sometime in the last year or two an anecdote about President Obama's attitudes about military intervention. This was probably in a long form piece from the New Yorker, Atlantic, etc. Obama and advisors were considering intervention in the Middle East (Syria? Libya? Iraq?), and Obama asked his staff for an example of a successful military intervention in that region, and was met by silence. Anyone remember specifically what I'm talking about? I've been googling without success, which makes me think I have one or two of the details wrong.
posted by crazy with stars to Law & Government (4 answers total)
There was quite a lot in The Atlantic's The Obama Doctrine cover story about decisions involving military intervention.
posted by HonoriaGlossop at 2:36 PM on August 2, 2016

There was a discussion on Kevin Drum's blog in Mother Jones back in March on an article by Jeffrey Goldberg concerning Obama's foreign policy views on intervention. Hope that helps.
posted by coldhotel at 2:43 PM on August 2, 2016

Best answer: There's this Vanity Fair article from October 2012 describing the meeting where Obama decides to intervene in Libya. It has some similarities to what you describe but it almost 4 years old and Obama isn't met with silence. He's just not getting the proposals he wants to hear.

The Pentagon then presented the president with two options: establish a no-fly zone or do nothing at all. The idea was that the people in the meeting would debate the merits of each, but Obama surprised the room by rejecting the premise of the meeting. “He instantly went off the road map,” recalls one eyewitness. “He asked, ‘Would a no-fly zone do anything to stop the scenario we just heard?’” After it became clear that it would not, Obama said, “I want to hear from some of the other folks in the room.”

Obama then proceeded to call on every single person for his views, including the most junior people. “What was a little unusual,” Obama admits, “is that I went to people who were not at the table. Because I am trying to get an argument that is not being made.

Interestingly this Rolling Stone article describes the same meeting I think but points out that Power and Rice are very pro-intervention from the start, making the debate not seem as one sided as it appears in Vanity Fair.
posted by great_radio at 7:24 PM on August 2, 2016

Response by poster: great_radio comes the closest, but none of these are quite right. I suppose it's possible I invented the anecdote then. I'll leave this open in case someone does show up to prove me right after all.
posted by crazy with stars at 3:09 PM on September 2, 2016

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