When George W. Bush was elected as President at the turn of the century he admitted that he would not be a foreign policy President. When Barack Obama was running for President in 2008 he took full advantage of that, claiming that Bush’s foreign policy had been a disaster, and that he would solve the problems in Iraq and Afghanistan, and make the world a better place. The young inexperienced Senator from Illinois was even able to defeat Vietnam war veteran and longtime Senator John McCain, a man who certainly would have had more experience in foreign policy. The American people believed Barack Obama could promote a positive foreign policy that would benefit the country.
No, not all of the world’s problems can be contributed to Barack Obama or his foreign policy, but it certainly hasn’t helped. Let’s start with the Arab Spring. Everyday people took to the streets to demand their governments let them choose who is in charge and what happens in their lives. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised these efforts claiming they were good steps. However, they should have dug deeper into the possible outcomes. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood ended up taking over, which angered the people even more, and new fighting has broken out in an effort to oust the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt. They have been ousted from leadership, but the fighting continues. Who did the United States back in this fight? The Muslim Brotherhood. In Libya, Moammar Gadhafi refused to step down when his people protested, and a civil war broke out. Eventually the Libyan rebels asked for U.S. assistance. Of course Senator John McCain had to vouch for his “heroes” and President Obama had to side with these seemingly innocent fighters. President Obama didn’t ask for Congressional authorization, and went ahead with weapons shipments and bombings in Libya anyway. Then on September 11, 2012, the realization hit us, we had supported and armed terrorist movements in Libya. Yes, Gadhafi was ousted and a new government took over, but the rebel factions were infiltrated by extremists who now had ahold of our weapons. They repaid our help by attacking our diplomatic mission, killing our Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others. Obama had aided our enemy and was not prepared to take any responsibility. We had no Marines to secure the facility like other diplomatic missions do, and the military was told to stand down instead of send in Special Forces soldiers to rescue our citizens. It would take weeks before President Obama would admit this was a terrorist attack, and no one in the administration would ever admit this was a result of poor policy.
The President that had promised us no wars had just finished involving us in Libya, and in August of 2013 was prepared to do it again. After warning Bashar al Assad in Syria of using chemical weapons in the Syrian Civil War, claiming it would be a “red line,” President Obama was put up to that test. Chemical weapons were used, and the world watched Obama stumble. Most Americans know we were days from war when Russian President Vladimir Putin stepped in to offer up a solution to the problem. President Obama had spent many days deliberating what to do, and couldn’t make a final decision. He had made a point, and no one took him seriously as Russia began its movement back to the world stage.
Obama’s troubles with Russia only continued after that. Just this year Russia has essentially started an uprising in Ukraine. Russia has annexed Crimea, and is close to annexing more territory whenever they wish to. Ukraine is on the brink of civil war, and Russia is arming the pro-Russian separatists. Just yesterday a Ukrainian military plane was shot down, killing 49 soldiers and crew members. Vladimir Putin knows Barack Obama can’t stop him, and America would be the only nation capable of stopping Russia. Putin will continue to give Ukraine troubles, and Barack Obama will not do anything about it, he simply doesn’t know what to do about it.
President Obama’s current headache is in Iraq, where ISIL, the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant, have made moves in Iraq to take territory. The ISIL have already taken Mosul and Fallujah, and are currently moving on Baghdad. This comes after all American troops left Iraq in 2011, and Vice President Joe Biden declared Iraq to be President Obama’s greatest achievement. Iraq has reportedly asked the US for support, and Obama announced the other day that Iraq needed to solve its own problems. How was this group allowed to become so strong? A failed foreign policy. President Obama had no foreign policy experience when he was elected President, and its showing now. The President was put in difficult situations, and either made no decisions or made the wrong ones. Shipments of weapons and aid were sent to the Middle East and ended up in the hands of our enemies, and instead of doing something about it, the administration has denied it. Conditions in Iraq are not likely to improve any time soon, and it is possible the United States will be sucked back into it. Obama pulled the US out of Iraq prematurely, and now he is seeing the consequences of that.
The President also must deal with the fact that Iran is closer than ever to a nuclear weapon now. Obama seems to ignore the issue, and that too will come back and hurt him in the future. Obama’s policy with Israel has also been a disaster, but that is an entirely separate topic. The truth is, the disaster that is Barack Obama’s foreign policy hasn’t finished unfolding yet, and unless the President opens up and receives help from people who know what to do, things will only get worse.