We are down to just over two months before we start saying “Former” President of the United States Barack Obama. America would be more excited by this if it wasn’t so scared of what was coming after. Alas. Let’s look at the biggest foreign policy failures of the Obama administration, in no particular order.
1. Fast and Furious
Hopefully no one’s forgotten this one, going all the way back to President Obama’s first term in office. It was supposed to help the ATF deal with drug cartels operating inside the US. The reason this made it on our list was because of the international ramifications of the results. What were those results? Well thanks to the Obama administration, instead of dismantling drug-trafficking routs, it ended up helping criminals south of the border gain their hands on 2,000 or so weapons. These weapons have since been used to kill citizens of Mexico and one US Citizens, a border patrol officer named Brian Terry (Source).
2. Arab Spring: Egypt an Libya
Everyone remembers the unbelievable events that started in Tunisia. People in various nations mobilizing through social media and other means to protest and rise against injustice and demand democracy. And how did it all end up? Exactly as most predicted.
President Obama had admitted that intervention in Lybia was a big mistake because he failed to consider what would happen “the day after.” As The Atlantic called it, “This was yet another act of presidential contrition for the NATO operation in 2011 that helped to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi but left the country deeply unstable.” He misjudged the situation, but blamed Lybian tribal communities and NATO for the problem.
President Obama also praised Egypt for the election of Mohammed Morsi, who was part of the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization which was responsible for the assassination of President Anwar Sadat. In December of 2012, as reported by BBC “Islamist-dominated constituent assembly approves draft constitution that boosts the role of Islam and restricts freedom of speech and assembly. Public approve it in a referendum, prompting extensive protest by secular opposition leaders, Christians and women’s groups.” Hurray for Freedom and Democracy…oops.
He has also been relatively silent on the treatment and rights (or lack there of) of Coptic Christians.
3. Interfering in Israel’s Election and General Attitude Towards Israel
You read that correctly. The President of the United States interfered in the democratic process of it’s friend and ally, Israel. Now while Obama had not been the biggest fan of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this was by far the most active thing he did. This wasn’t his administration pushing Israel to negotiate with Mahmoud Abbas, or offhanded comments about how much it sucks to work with the Prime Minister, or just general disrespect. This was blatant and on purpose.
How did the president do this?
“There was money moving that included taxpayer U.S. dollars, through non-profit organizations. And there were various liberal groups in the United States that were raising millions to fund a campaign called V15 against Prime Minister Netanyahu,” states John McLaughlin, a Republican strategist, as reported by the Jerusalem Post.
This of course backfired and actually ended up helping Netanyahu’s win by a wider margin than what was reported in the US. Bibi’s speech to congress also reportedly helped. Obama’s actions and influence and pushing for opposition candidates who were more a bit more open to a two-state solution shows a blatant disregard of Israel’s right to its own decisions.
There are many possible failures here, giving money to armed rebels who’s allegiance was unclear beyond “Stop Assad”, not acting soon enough or not being tough enough, or perhaps not staying out of it and not being able to do anything regarding Russia’s involvement. But what a Diplomacy Professor mentioned as the biggest failure was the “red line”.
In 2013, Assad’s forces used Chemical weapons on the people of Damascus, killing 1,500 civilians, at least 400 of whom were children. Social Media was flooded with the most gruesome of images following these events. President Obama the year before gave a speech in which he said that if Assad used chemical weapons it would be crossing the red line. So Assad crossed it and what did President Obama do? Not much. This sent a clear message to a lot of countries around the world, that they could no longer feel safe with the US watching their backs.
Syria will follow his legacy more than some of the other things on this list.
5. The Iran Deal
You know…the deal where Iran got the better end and there’s no guarantee that it will actually curtail its nuclear aspirations. Yeah. That deal. Iran still gets to enrich uranium and merely delays the time frame of Iran’s nuclear capability. This deal was plagued by controversy and opposition from conservatives. This deal also gives money, lots of it, to the state sponsor of terrorism.
The US and Iran did not even agree to release any of the people we know are being held in Iran.
Marco Rubio covered all the basis in his questions on the Iran deal.
There you have it. These are just 5 of Obama’s biggest blunders of foreign policy. What are your thoughts on Obama’s biggest mistakes? Let us know, comment, and share.