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'Obama increasingly relying on 'gut instincts' than 'consensus' on key decisions'

Washington, Mon, 27 Jun 2011 ANI

Washington, June 27 (ANI): The Osama bin Laden raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, has reinforced US President Barack Obama's tendency to go ahead with his instinct in making important decisions, contrary to his earlier moves in which he used to seek consensus among his top aides and political advisers.


Reports suggest that at a recent meeting in the White House Situation Room, Obama disagreed with the views of General David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Afghanistan, for a slow drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.


Despite Petraeus' suggestion that the military needed time to secure the eastern part of the country as it had done in the south, the President insisted that the administration's goal of shifting responsibility for the country's security to the Afghan government was most important, The Los Angeles Times quoted administration officials, as saying.


"He asked everyone, if we're serious about transition, then when? When are we going to do it? Everybody came out of that meeting knowing the president wanted to go this direction even though it wasn't the pace that General Petraeus was recommending," a senior administration official said about Obama.


A week later, last Wednesday, Obama announced plans to withdraw the 33,000 "surge" troops he sent to Afghanistan.


According to the paper, the move reminded some of those who had attended the meeting of another incident in which despite being advised by some top officials not to demand Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down, Obama went ahead with his 'gut feeling' after seeing an angry crowd in Cairo's Tahrir Square yelling, "Leave! Leave! Leave!"


The decision took aides by surprise because in the first two years of Obama's presidency, his top aides had grown accustomed to a process in which Obama drew out and explored the views of his full team and searched for a consensus - 'decision by ballot', as some have termed it, the paper added.


Some aides believe that the success of the bin Laden raid has reinforced Obama's belief in his own judgments.


"I think he reached a point where he had to trust his instincts, and there was nothing left to inform his decision except to do that," an advisor who is intimately familiar with the president's thinking on foreign policy matters, said. (ANI)


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