Mr Obama’s character is also stamped on the inter-agency process, set up and managed by Tom Donilon, deputy national security adviser. The nitty-gritty of foreign policy-making is done at these frequent “deputies’ meetings”, which can sometimes consume four to six hours a day
Described by one insider as “the most powerful man in the White House whose name isn’t widely known”, Mr Donilon, who was an official in the Clinton administration, is the man who keeps Mr Obama’s trains running on time. And there are a lot of trains. Last year, Mr Donilon held 270 deputies meetings – a workload described as “clinically insane” by a former senior diplomat under Bill Clinton.
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