Monday, April 5, 2021

tiny book reviews.2021.n6 -- undaunted by john brennan

If you don't know, John Brennan was CIA Director during Obama's second term. He also worked in the White House during Obama's first term as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. All of that after a full 25-year career with the CIA. 

This tiny book review comes in the form of four brief takeaways.

(1) The CIA is interesting, and reading about the experiences of a career CIA man was interesting. John Brennan's career in particular is interesting, but I imagine the memoir of any "company man" (or woman) would be similarly interesting.

(2) I enjoyed the insights Brennan's memoir provided regarding a host of geopolitical conflicts. He certainly prioritizes contemporary issues over historical ones, but, as it is a memoir, his career provides some historical context. Terrorism. Russia. Cyber security. China. North Korea. Middle East conflicts of many flavors. 

I love this stuff. More than once in reading the memoir I felt the familiar pangs of regret that I did not pursue a career with the State Department or similar.

(3) The country simply did not know how good it had it with President Barak Obama. The more I learn of Obama's presidency, the more I'm struck by the sense that he is, in every way, exactly the sort of person we should want as the country's chief executive. Smart. Thoughtful. Hard-working. Kind. Even ("no drama Obama"). Moral. Empathetic.

It's absolutely fine to hold differences of opinion regarding policy priorities and a vision for the country, but the personal attacks and questioning of his intentions during and after his presidency is just so dumb. He is a better person and was a better president than our country deserves.

(4) On the other hand, it might not be possible to find a person less qualified for the position than his successor, Donald Trump. I'm not sure there's much point to writing more. I guess I'll just say that Brennan's interactions with Trump once again highlight how pathetically ill-prepared and ill-suited he and his circle were for the presidency. 

I'm so glad that chapter has closed.

4 of 5 stars.

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