President dines with foreign policy experts

Less than 48 hours ahead of a planned address to the nation on how the U.S. plans to combat terrorists with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, President Obama dined at the White House Monday with a slate of foreign policy experts.

Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary of State John Kerry were joined by some of Washington’s most established foreign policy hands, including Clinton national security adviser Sandy Berger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, who held the same position during the Carter administration.

{mosads}Former Obama national security adviser Tom Donilon was also at the dinner, as was former Undersecretary for Defense Policy Michèle Flournoy, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, and Stephen Hadley, who was national security adviser under George W. Bush. Former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), former acting CIA Director Michael Morell, and Brookings Institution President Strobe Talbott rounded out the group of invited guests.

“The President looks forward to engaging with this group and hearing their views on a range of national security and foreign policy issues,” a White House official said.

The meeting comes as the president is set to address the nation Wednesday and expected to detail his strategy for confronting the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“Over the course of months, we are going to be able to not just blunt the momentum of (ISIS),” the president said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We are going to systematically degrade their capabilities. We’re going to shrink the territory that they control. And ultimately we’re going to defeat them.”

On Tuesday, the president will meet with congressional leaders at the White House to discuss that strategy.

Obama said he wants the American people to understand “we have the capacity” to deal with ISIS but that “this is a serious threat.”

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