When President Obama took the oath of office in January 2009, he became the leader of the world’s greatest military power, and the nation that more than any other in history represented a beacon of freedom and opportunity. In June of 2009, he travelled to Cairo to proclaim “a new beginning” in America’s dealings with other nations, including especially those of the Islamic world. Barely nine months later, Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize amid immense praise and adulation for his idealism. The chairman of the Nobel judges panel said of Obama’s selection that “we have not given the prize for what may happen in the future. We are awarding Obama for what he has done in the past year.”
It is five years later and the results of policies Obama first proclaimed during his initial year as commander-in-chief are now on full display around the world. The U.S. is leading from behind if it is leading at all, with catastrophic consequences for the forces of human liberty in every corner of the globe.
Obama has faced seven major foreign policy crises since taking office and his policies have been disastrous in every one of them:
• The precipitate ending of the U.S. effort in Iraq not only wasted American blood and treasure, it set the course for Iran’s emergence as the dominant power in the Middle East.
• Obama’s temporizing about genuinely tough sanctions while negotiating with Iran simply provided the mad mullahs in Tehran additional time to continue development of their nuclear program. Taken together, his approaches to Iran and Iraq have amounted to a “lose-lose” policy.
• In Libya, Obama pursued a constitutionally questionable military operation that assured the end of the Moammar Gadhafi regime, but left the country in a state of chaos that made the Benghazi tragedy inevitable.
• By drawing a “red line” and warning Syrian dictator Bashar Assad not to cross it, then backing off in deference to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin’s promise of “mediation,” Obama both restored Moscow as a key Middle East power and confirmed suspicions of his own fecklessness.
• The emptiness of the Obama/Hillary Clinton “reset with Russia” became painfully clear as Russian tanks rolled into the Crimean Peninsula, accompanied by Putin’s mocking of American exceptionalism.
• China’s response to the Obama “pivot to the Pacific” has been an expanded military buildup and an aggressive pursuit of regional hegemony that would curtail U.S. influence in that part of the world.
• Osama bin Laden is indeed dead, but al Qaeda is anything but, and it’s only a matter of time before the Taliban regains power in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda affiliates are now so strong outside of Afghanistan that the sanctuary provided by the Taliban in that country prior to 9/11 likely won’t be needed to produce new and more lethal attacks on the U.S. and its vital interests around the world.
Barring a miraculous reversal in Obama’s foreign policies during the final two years of his presidency, the ruinous consequences of his tenure in the Oval Office are certain to be felt for decades to come. He will leave a dangerous legacy of American weakness.
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This article was published at Washington Examiner.