Today we offer part two of our assessment of the Obama Presidency and legacy focusing on foreign affairs. Again we caution time is the best assessment of any presidency and there will be differing views in instant analysis. That said here is ours:
We don’t know where we are better off today because of the Obama foreign policies. What will he claim as his successes? Opening Cuba? Not enforcing border control? Pulling out of Iraq against the recommendations of the military? Reducing the military? Releasing captured terrorists from Guantanamo Bay?
We think the Obama foreign policy has been a failure. In the middle east things are worse than when he arrived. Libya was a disaster. His policy on Syria and the infamous red line has resulted in hundreds of thousands dying and being misplaced. He owns Aleppo. Russia has reemerged in the area due to a lack of U.S. leadership. ISIS arose under his watch. He called them the JV and misjudged their potential. Today the world pays a price for that. He pulled out of Iraq too soon after the Bush troop build up stabilized things. More troops died under his watch in Afghanistan than Bush, and he is sending increased troops back because he pulled too many out — against the military recommendations. He supported the Arab Spring and that didn’t work. He thought Bush was all wrong on his approach with Russia and sent Hillary there with a red reset button. That was a disaster and today relationships are the worst since the cold war.
He claims to have controlled terror but he is blind in that statement. His direct quote is no foreign terrorist organization “has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland”. That statement tells you why he failed in this area. In Ft. Hood his administration called it “workplace violence”. The shooter identified with ISIS. The same for recent activity like San Bernardino, Orlando and Boston. The list is long, but Obama fails to recognize them. The world is awash with terror activity. Think France and Turkey in recent months. ISIS arose under his watch and without U.S. leadership it will not be defeated.
He oversaw the killing of Osama Bin Laden is another claim of success. Please, the day the World Trade Centers went down we set out after Bin Laden. He was simply President when we knew where he was and it was his obligation to get him. He owed that to the 3,000+ citizens who were murdered by that fiend. It was not his doing or being heroic to order it done.
We think Obama passed the buck, too. He so wanted to be remembered as a peace President that he failed to take actions he should have. The Iran deal does not stop their nuclear program. It delays it until Obama is long out of office. Plus giving them the funds he did, in cash, allows them to grow and succeed. He went against the policies of five previous Presidents in releasing that money, and did not stop their program. He delayed it. History will judge this.
He passed the buck with North Korea too. He failed to do anything to stop them and their nuclear development has expanded. It has done so to the point where they claim they are testing a nuclear missile that can reach the west coast of the U.S. He has utterly failed here and passed that on.
So we see no where he leaves us better off than when he came in. He thought coming into office that America was to blame for a lot of the world’s ills. He thought his apologizing and pulling back would show the world he was different. He thought they’ react to that with open arms. Instead it was perceived as weakness and a chance for others to act. So Russia could take Crimea and not worry. North Korea could continue developing bombs. Iran could take sailors off the high seas and humiliate them. Assad could laugh at his red line and pass it within days. Cuba can laugh as we open the door and allow money to flow there while they do nothing in return.
Then consider Isreal, our ally and friend in the middle east. Obama certainly sided against them at every turn and no country awaits his departure more. So when friends celebrate your leaving and enemies decry it, that tells you a lot.
His single claim we think can be the U.S. is not at war and though troops are engaged again in Mosul, throughout Iraq, and in Afghanistan, it is not a war as we know it. Beyond that we see nothing about the Obama foreign policy legacy that is positive or lasting.
In the end we think that while George W. Bush was too aggressive, Obama over compensated the other way. We don’t know where we are stronger and better off today than we were.
Our initial grade for Obama’s foreign policy is a D.
On Monday our overall score and analysis of the Obama years.