Transition in a Time of Transition


The turnover between U.S. presidential administrations can be a time of uncertainty and vulnerability. In this week’s episode of Horns of a Dilemma, we hear from former National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley, who discusses the forthcoming volume, Hand-Off: The Foreign Policy George W. Bush Passed to Barack Obama. This book, a collection of transition memoranda prepared by National Security Council staffers, reflections by the principals, and analysis by scholars, is an unprecedented glimpse into the transition process, as well as an early comprehensive history of the George W. Bush administration’s foreign policy. Hadley discusses the book and the transition process with Clements Center Executive Director Will Inboden, who worked for Hadley at the time on the National Security Council, and who offers his own insights and recollections. This book and this discussion are a remarkable “second draft” of history–benefiting from more access and context than contemporaneous journalism can allow, and leveraging fresh recollections and insights into events whose implications have not yet fully played out.  This discussion was held at the University of Texas, Austin on February 14, 2023.


Image:Carlos Delgado, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons