Former National Security Adviser Steve Hadley’s “Hand Off”

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In this episode, former United States National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley joins the podcast to discuss his new book, “Hand-Off: The Foreign Policy George W. Bush Passed to Barack Obama.”

Hand-Off details the Bush administration’s national security and foreign policy as described at the time in then-classified Transition Memoranda prepared by the National Security Council experts who advised President Bush. Thirty of these Transition Memoranda, newly declassified and here made public for the first time, provide a detailed, comprehensive, and first-hand look at the foreign policy the Bush administration turned over to President Obama. In a postscript to each memorandum, these same experts now in hindsight take a remarkably self-critical look at that Bush foreign policy legacy after more than a dozen years of watching subsequent administrations attempt to deal with the same vexing agenda of threats and opportunities— China, Russia, Iran, the Middle East, terrorism, proliferation, cyber, pandemics, and climate change—an agenda that still dominates America’s national security and foreign policy.

The book makes public for the first time a set of 30 newly declassified Transition Memoranda that were prepared by President Bush’s National Security Council staff for the incoming Obama administration to outline the key foreign policy challenges it would face.