Howard Dean: Media Doesn't Know How To Deal With Obama's "More Sophisticated" Foreign Policy


JOE SCARBOROUGH: It is a problem that when you ran for president you were defined by what you were not, he was defined during his campaign as not being George W. Bush and not being Dick Cheney. It helped him get elected president. But Howard Dean, that was one of the president's problems. Also historically where the 44th president of the United States lands and the American story is also another problem. If you're president prior to 1989, it's an easy world to define. It is a bipolar world. There is a cold war going on. And it's us against them. The Russians are the bad guys. We’re the good guys. Then it moves to this multilateral world with emerging powers and of course you have one or two people that can have oil money, start a terror outfit and destabilize the world one way or the other. The president, I’m a critic of foreign policy but it's also a hell of a lot more difficult than it was for the first, say, 38, 39, 40 presidents.

HOWARD DEAN: I think that's right. I think actually that's the problem. The problem here is not the president. It’s the media. The media doesn't know how to deal with a more sophisticated foreign policy. I happened to be driving from Vermont to New York yesterday, I listened to the whole speech on the radio. I thought it was a good speech. I think what this president has consistently said is that we are no longer living in a polar world. We are going to -- our foreign policy is based on cooperation with other people. He showed it in Libya. He has showed it in Ukraine.

SCARBOROUGH: Is that the Obama doctrine?

DEAN: That is the Obama doctrine is that this is no longer a unipolar or bipolar world. Us against them. It requires us to build alliances in almost everything w do. And he specifically said during the speech, if the American interests are directly threatened, we will respond militarily. But –

SCARBOROUGH: Can I ask you this question, Howard?

DEAN: Let me finish. If there's not a direct threat, we will build alliances and expect partnerships…

MIKE BRZEZINSKI: And not make the mistakes of the past.

DEAN: I think that makes sense.

SCARBOROUGH: So can I ask you this? Because I think it's a great point. And I think the president made great points, too, that we project power in ways far different than rolling tanks into other countries. That’s just not going to be effective moving forward. We have to use soft power. But is it fair to say this president is not the best at forging those sorts of alliances and personal relationships across the globe. That is one of the great challenges of the policy he put forward yesterday.

DEAN: I go to Europe a lot for various speeches. I always get asked how come Obama’s not paying attention to us? I think he is. The problem is the Europeans have to change. This is not -- he can't rely only on America with a different policy. The Europeans have to understand now they're equal partners and more is expected of them. I think that's exactly what the president -- the kind of foreign policy the president wants.

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