Barack Obama was supposed to fix it. George W. Bush was the gun-toting cowboy of a President who shot first, asked questions later, gave America a bad name. Obama was given a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. Eight years later, it’s mission accomplished, or so he says.
At his end-of-the-year press conference President Obama said, “Almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than it was eight years ago.”
The actual Obama foreign policy legacy is very different. If America is “stronger and more respected” by other nations, these other nations sure have a funny way of showing it.
On the day that Obama gave his press conference, the Chinese captured a research drone from the oceanographic survey ship USNS Bowditch. The Bowditch was not operating in Chinese waters when it was captured. China has since returned the drone, presumably not before they studied and analyzed the drone’s function and capabilities.
The incident involving Bowditch is not an isolated incident in recent Chinese expansionism. China has built up military installations on artificial islands in the South China Sea. While maintaining the position that the United States government does not recognize Chinese claims in the region, the Navy has made “innocent passages” through the region. If the US government does not recognize Chinese claims to the region, there should be no need for US ships to claim the right of innocent passage.
China is one of the leading perpetrators of cyber attacks on both American public and private interests. It is not a coincidence that the latest generation of Chinese military hardware bears a striking resemblance to American technological military advancements.
One of Obama’s first acts on the world stage was to cancel the missile defense shield that had been negotiated to defend Poland and the Czech Republic. Hillary Clinton also gave Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov an incorrectly translated “reset button” in 2009. In 2012, Obama told then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on a hot mic that he would have more flexibility after his re-election. Obama also infamously mocked Mitt Romney’s “Cold War” mindset.
Then, in 2014, Russia invaded and annexed the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine. A civil war broke out in the eastern part of the country between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists. Sanctions were put on Russia as a result of the invasion and annexation. These sanctions, however, were only applied to individuals and a select group of corporations, not entire sectors of the Russian economy.
Russia has forced NATO to scramble jets numerous to escort Russian warplanes that brush the limits of European borders, and has conducted dangerous and threatening maneuvers near US ships in the region.
Under Obama’s watch, Russia has also returned to the Middle East. It is fighting to preserve the regime in Damascus. Russia is also suspected of bombing humanitarian aid convoys to Syria. Russia has also played a significant role in Aleppo, where residents fear genocide and where women have chosen suicide over rape as the regime retook the city.
Ask almost any Obama supporter what his number one foreign policy achievement is, and they will cite the nuclear deal with Iran. But it’s nowhere near the “success” that the left claims it is.
The deal purports to slow down Iran’s nuclear capacity in exchange for sanction relief, but has seen its fair share of issues. The number of times that Tehran has violated the deal are almost to numerous to list, not the least of which have been secret side deals. Iran has received billions of dollars in sanction relief and in ransom payments over the past couple years.
The thawing of relations with Iran was supposed to bring a less hostile relationship between Washington and Tehran. Tehran never got that message, as they have funded Houthi rebels in the Yemeni Civil War, who have in turn fired missiles at the USS Mason in the Red Sea on three separate occasions.
To most people, the idea of the world’s foremost terrorist state becoming increasingly powerful would be a sign of concern. Obama seems to have welcomed an increasingly powerful Iran, by stating “Iran will be and should be a regional power.” Iran has demonstrated its new-found power by kidnapping American sailors and broadcasting it on state television.
The United States is the most powerful country in world history. Yet, Obama and his right-hand man, John Kerry, have bent over backwards trying to get Iran to not only agree to the nuclear deal, but have looked the other way while Tehran violates it. The only response they could muster was “You must favor going to war” as if those were the only two options.
The Real Obama Foreign Policy Legacy
The United States is relatively weaker today than it was in 2009. Those hostile to the United States are all stronger today than they were eight years ago. Obama “gave peace a chance,” and the world laughed. The world is an even more dangerous place than it was before he took office.