mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
The World on Fire
President Obama’s Foreign Policy Legacy, Libya Edition
Features Icon
Features
show comments
  • Jmaci

    Sadly, Obama is worse. He could have benefitted from studying Bush’s deficiencies but didn’t. He has left the world a much more dangerous place.

    • Jim__L

      He had a look over Bush’s deficiencies, and decided that a foreign policy of “I’m Not George W. Bush, Love Me!” (oh, the immortal words of Niall Ferguson) was going to take him wherever he needed to go.

  • rheddles

    In retirement, President Obama and President George W. Bush may find they have much in common.

    Except that Bush will be shown to have been correct in direction if not execution whereas Obama will have been proven to be incorrect in everything.

  • adk

    “Yet it seems less and less likely that he will make significant progress on any of these goals.” — WRM

    That’s an understatement of the year. The only hope for the remaining 14 months is to avoid a real catastrophe in the world as various bad actors rush to squeeze last benefits of the Obama’s last term.

  • Anthony

    Something relevant to post as well as an observation generally: “during the Cold War a national-security establishment grew, including Republicans and Democrats, government officials, and their “bench” in universities and the media – many thousands who make a good living from National Security – a class who became ever less diverse in outlook over the last half of the twentieth century…As this part of the ruling class’s outlook on war and peace became more specialized, it diverged further from the commonsense of the American people.”

    The gap between aspiration and accomplishment may be valid reference but a more salient question yet to be asked is what are the people’s (American) interests in these endless conflicts (U.S. managed). What is to be our resolution (peace)? A commonality in post last sentence brings to mind: a successful foreign policy engagement long-term requires a strategic concept based on specific analysis of all relevant factors – 15 years later, we have yet to distill a coherent vision. So, if there is a legacy it subsumes Obama (and all that has occurred on his watch) but does not begin or end there.

    • Josephbleau

      I guess, in summary, the Military Industrial Complex ate Obama’s homework?

      • Anthony

        We interpret as we choose but the MIC along with remnants of Atlantic Charter, et al wittingly or unwittingly affect.

    • Jim__L

      The NeoCons were the only ones with a coherent vision, which fell flat when it turned out that Shiites were a majority in Iraq.

      What would Americans like to see? A world where America is safe and prosperous, and our kids will enjoy a higher standard of living than we do — a world where Dad’s job is enough to support a single-family home with a yard in the suburbs, and Mom can either work or stay home with the kids when they’re small. What would it require to make our economy actually look like this? No one is quite sure.

      Leftists think it will require massive new entitlement programs. Conservatives think that it will require maintaining free markets. Neither one of those is particularly inspiring, because neither one is particularly dramatic. (Not compared to toppling dictators around the world, anyway.)

      I think that the first politician that figures out how to demonstrate dramatic success will have the attention of the electorate. It may not even matter whether that success resonates with any existing political point of view. Anyone who can take America’s resources and use them to achieve big goals, in the face of daunting obstacles, is likely to be looked upon favorably.

      • Anthony

        Something related to your 2nd paragraph and yet vital factor in our ongoing obstacles to addressing American socio-political-economic dynamic sans political designation (A world where America….): http://www.thenation.com/article/what-happened-to-the-white-working-class/

        • Jim__L

          Something you and Max Berger need to understand — *** none of this is about racism ***. Roof is marginalized and seen for the monster he is, and the almost-too-good-for-this-world role models for black people and white people alike are the parishioners who overcame the natural disgust for his actions and
          forgave him. So, try to think about this in the absence of racism and “disparate impact”. Look at the problem with those terms removed from your minds. That’s the only way you’re going to be able to usefully contribute to this debate.

          This is not about relative ethnic privilege, and this is not about relative ethnic power. This is about economics and independence (particularly from government) in absolute terms. Max seems to be totally immune not only to evidence, but also irony, as he uses white Carson supporters as an exemplar of white fears about black people. The stupidity verges on comical.

          Ehrenreich needs to realize that “psychological wages” for whites, especially poor whites, have been negative for some time now. In fact she comes very, very close to realizing this in her paragraph about the condescending culture of the 10%ers. Worse than simply being the butt of jokes, the traditional values of the white working class (which, ironically, most African-Americans share) are pissed on by 10%ers on a daily basis. Actual punitive measures are now being taken against those who dare to act according to their conscience.

          A cursory glance at anger management literature points out that attacking someone’s deeply-held beliefs is
          one of the real triggers of anger. No one heeds this warning, apparently, although it should be clear enough to anyone who has given a cursory glance to internet comment boards.

          Affirmative action denies marginal whites (and a whole lot of Asians) access to those “best schools” that DuBois so envied. Those schools have become propaganda machines for the Leftist PC Establishment, demonizing not only the shadows of past crimes, but everything to be proud of in our heritage — heritage that is, yes, mostly “dead white males”.

          Please especially consider Ehrenreich’s final paragraph…

          “It’s easy for the liberal intelligentsia to feel righteous in their disgust
          for lower-class white racism, but the college-educated elite that
          produces the intelligentsia is in trouble, too, with diminishing
          prospects and an ever-slipperier slope for the young. Whole professions
          have fallen on hard times, from college teaching to journalism and the
          law. One of the worst mistakes this relative elite could make is to try
          to pump up its own pride by hating on those—of any color or
          ethnicity—who are falling even faster.”

          Is it “condescending” to see college professors as not engaging in the newest intellectual debates on merits, but as simply defending their privileges? That theory has explanatory power I guess, but considering the fact that the argument is a great deal of nonsense when applied to racial questions, I’m inclined to take it with a grain of salt.

          • Anthony

            I’m not sure what you mean about Max Berger (and there’s no need for clarification) or anybody else you choose to reference. I understand clearly why I responded. My purpose was not to illustrate racism but to give you opportunity to read related material about expressed sentiment. But, you are where you opt to be most comfortable and that’s fine – I responded nothing more. You’re familiar…

          • Jim__L

            To be brief — the Left is failing to address America’s challenges because it obsessively believes everything is about race, as the two Nation articles you referenced demonstrate. The Left will never inspire the majority as long as that is their only “narrative”.

          • Anthony

            Information is not left or right; it just is (no dogma, no ideology).

  • Angel Martin

    when it came to deposing a dictator without having a successor regime in place, at least Bush has the excuse of innovation. Obama and Clinton criticized Bush for doing that in Iraq, and then did the same damn thing themselves in Libya !

    • ARMSTROB

      Biden in 2010,

      “I am very optimistic about — about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration. You’re going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You’re going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government,” said Biden.

      “I spent — I’ve been there 17 times now. I go about every two months — three months. I know every one of the major players in all of the segments of that society. It’s impressed me. I’ve been impressed how they have been deciding to use the political process rather than guns to settle their differences.”

  • Blackbeard

    As bad as Obama’s record is in foreign policy, and it very bad indeed, I suspect that history will regard his environmental record as even more foolish and damaging to our country. “Climate change” is really not about climate at all, it is about capitalism versus socialism, about the West versus the rest, and about unilateral executive power versus democracy. That an American president could be on the wrong side of all those issues is unprecedented, shocking and very, very depressing.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “In retirement, President Obama and President George W. Bush may find they have much in common.”

    BS, at least Bush tried a “Strategy” that had worked 3 times before in Germany, Japan, and South Korea, and failed once in Vietnam. By planting a seed of the Superior American Culture in the middle of Islamoland Iraq, Bush planned to change the entire backward Islamic Culture that has been continuously spawning Jihadists for centuries. What’s more it was working as the “Arab Spring” proves, the aspirations of Muslims had been moved, and they were taking action. This was never going to be a quick “Strategy” and required decades of commitment, as it did in South Korea which required 30 years just to become Democratic. This is because Cultures change at Glacial Speeds. And Obama is responsible for wasting all that Blood (Thousands of lives), Treasure (Trillions of Dollars), and Time (over a Decade already committed), when he precipitously abandoned this “Seedling of American Culture” in Iraq, and now Afghanistan. In addition he put absolutely no “Strategy” in place to replace this “Cultural Judo” strategy, because he’s a leftist Idiot, and the “Worst President in American History”.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service