Richard Haass is the quintessential member of the foreign policy establishment. Long-time President of the Council on Foreign Relations, Haass has served in Republican and Democrat administrations and advised candidates from both parties. In this election, he has been very critical of Donald Trump.

So no taint of partisanship can be applied to the normally mild-mannered Haass’ scathing comments on today’s Morning Joe about President Obama’s UN speech of yesterday. After calling the speech a “major disappointment,” Haass unleashed the unkindest cut, saying of Obama’s detached attitude to the crises of the day “this is not the faculty lounge.” Ouch.

Haass also suggested that Obama has been ushering in a “post-American world.” Former National Security Agency Director Michael praised the “elegant” analysis of the speech but also agreed Obama has been ushering in a post-American world. “Dispirited” and “defeatist” were other words used to describe the Obama speech.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: What did you make of the president’s speech yesterday, Richard Haass, at the United Nations?

RICHARD HAASS: Short answer was I thought it was a major disappointment. The sporting equivalent would be running out the clock. There were no specifics about Syria.

JOE: Do you think it was one of his worst speeches before the — ?

HAASS: I do. I was really disappointed. I thought it was at 36,000 ft. Generalities. Almost dispirited and defeatist about what we couldn’t accomplish in the world at the time we’ve got North Korea on the precipice of nuclear issues, we’ve got Syria unraveling the way it is, these convoys getting bombed.

JOE: The chamber, all the reports I got also, one of the most dispirited UN chambers ever because of a lack of United States leadership.

HAASS: I think there’s a couple themes hovering over this United Nations gathering. One is exactly what we’re talking about here. The real sense of futility with Syria, the tragedy of it. Second —

JJOE: There doesn’t have to be a futility —

HAASS: — that’s my point —

JOE: — if you have an American president who is actually willing to not let tyrants cross red lines and kill 200,000 people.

HAASS: What you’re seeing from Syria to questions over TPP is a sense of retreat from American leadership around the world. That concerns obviously about Donald Trump, what he would bring to it but all these things are adding up. Fareed Zakaria some years ago wrote a book about a post-American world. And what we’re seeing at the UN this week is what a post-American world would look like.

JOE: We’re actually seeing, general, are we not, the results of a president saying I’m going to usher this country into a post-American world?

MICHAEL HAYDEN: Joe, I think that’s exactly right. Let me differ just slightly with my good friend, Richard. I thought it was a very elegant speech in terms of its analysis of the global situation. But you know? Saying it hasn’t made it so since the first six days of creation.

And we have not participated in a meaningful way in a process that actually would help the circumstances on the ground in Syria and a whole lot of other places. Last week I mentioned there was difference in language between Mr. Trump and President Obama. You know, but there’s not a whole lot of difference between the Obama administration’s retrenchment and Mr. Trump’s America First. There are common themes there.

HAASS: About the analysis, though: this is not the faculty lounge.


HAASS: This is the United Nations, the United States is the most powerful country in the world. And if we learned with George W. Bush, sometimes what we do can be really counter-productive. What we have now is an eight-year lesson that what we don’t do can be every bit as counter-productive.


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