While the United States engaged in the conflict in Iraq, Dr. David Abshire said there were years the United States neglected Afghanistan, giving Osama bin Laden and the Taliban time to regroup and go into the mountains. He is grateful the US and its allies are joining together to combat terrorism.
“We won’t win this militarily. This president [President Barack Obama] knows the human factors are most important, not body counts, not numbers,” Abshire said.
Chancellor Roger Brown and Abshire discussed “President Obama as War and Finance Chief.”
Abshire served as Ambassador to NATO from 1983-87. He served as Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations from 1970-73. He is currently serving as President and CEO of the Center for the Study of the Presidency in Washington, DC and President of the Richard Lounsbery Foundation in New York. He is the Co-Founder and Vice Chairman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
When asked what he would do to reduce deficit spending if he were in President Obama’s shoes, Abshire called the stimulus package “a mixed bag.” As for entitlement programs, he said “Social Security should be reformed and re-thought. I love Medicare, but I am fortunate in life and I should pay more for it than a poor person.”
Though he said he has “come to admire Obama so much,” he believes the president has made a lot of mistakes, trying to “do too much. In a way, he was trying to develop a think-tank. Education, energy…it doesn’t work that way because of the Congress.” He contrasted Obama to President Ronald Reagan, who was encouraged to tackle the issues sequentially. “That’s what Obama didn’t do,” Abshire said.
Saying Obama “matches idealism with a sense of realism,” Abshire said the president has “got character. He came from nothing. He got into Harvard on his own and he became president of the Harvard Law Review. I have real admiration for him; with so many Americans, that has been blurred,” Abshire said.