The Obama Legacy - 2017

The Obama Legacy - 2017

© David Burton 2017

The Obama Legacy

     As with all national leaders throughout history, Barack Obama’s true legacy and place in history will not be determined until well after his term in office has ended. However, here at the start of 2017 immediately following the end of his presidency, I herein present my view of the Obama legacy. This assessment comes from the perspective of one who has lived through Barack Obama’s two terms in office and, as will be obvious in what follows, has found this ex-president’s policies and actions to be exceedingly deficient.


     “Obama made history when he was elected to be the first African-American president of the US. Although he was young, largely unknown, and inexperienced, he was able to beat Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, as well as his well-known Republican opponent John McCain, a veteran and war hero. He led the polls among groups of voters who had given up on participating in the elections -- groups including blacks, minorities and young people. And in a first in presidential campaigning, effectively used social networks to recruit voters and resources. After four years in office, he managed to be elected to a second term. The election confirmed an important principle of American society: everyone can go further, even the White House.” (Ref. 1)

     “Years from now, historians may regard the 2008 election {and the 2012 re-election} of Barack Obama as an inscrutable and disturbing phenomenon, the result of a baffling breed of mass hysteria akin perhaps to the witch craze of the Middle Ages.
     “How, they will wonder, did a man so devoid of professional accomplishment beguile so many into thinking he could manage the world's largest economy, direct the world's most powerful military, execute the world's most consequential job? Imagine a future historian examining Obama's pre-presidential life: ushered into and through the Ivy League despite unremarkable grades and test scores along the way; a cushy non-job as a ‘community organizer’; a brief career as a state legislator devoid of legislative achievement (and in fact nearly devoid of his attention, so often did he vote ‘present’); and finally an unaccomplished single term in the United States Senate, the entirety of which was devoted to his presidential ambitions.
     “He left no academic legacy in academia, authored no signature legislation as a legislator. And then there is the matter of his troubling associations: the white-hating, America-loathing preacher who for decades served as Obama's ‘spiritual mentor’; a real-life, actual terrorist who served as Obama's colleague and political sponsor. It is easy to imagine a future historian looking at it all and asking: how on Earth was such a man elected president?
     “. . . because Mr. Obama was black, and therefore entitled in the eyes of liberaldom to have hung out with protesters against various American injustices, even if they were a bit extreme, he was given a pass. Let that sink in: Obama was given a pass - held to a lower standard - because of the color of his skin.
     “. . . And in any case, what did such ancient history matter when he was also so articulate and elegant and (as he himself had said) ‘non-threatening,’ all of which gave him a fighting chance to become the first black president and thereby to lay the curse of racism to rest?  . . .
     “Unfortunately, minorities often suffer so that whites can pat themselves on the back. Liberals routinely admit minorities to schools for which they are not qualified, yet take no responsibility for the inevitable poor performance and high drop-out rates which follow. Liberals don't care if these minority students fail; liberals aren't around to witness the emotional devastation and deflated self-esteem resulting from the racist policy that is affirmative action. Yes, racist. Holding someone to a separate standard merely because of the color of his skin - that's affirmative action in a nutshell, and if that isn't racism, then nothing is.
     “And that is what America did to Obama. True, Obama himself was never troubled by his lack of achievements, but why would he be? As many have noted, Obama was told he was good enough for Columbia despite undistinguished grades at Occidental; he was told he was good enough for the US Senate despite a mediocre record in Illinois; he was told he was good enough to be president despite no record at all in the Senate. All his life, every step of the way, Obama was told he was good enough for the next step, in spite of ample evidence to the contrary. What could this breed if not the sort of empty narcissism on display every time Obama speaks? In 2008 {and again in 2012}|, many who agreed that he lacked executive qualifications nonetheless raved about Obama's oratory skills, intellect, and cool character. Those people - conservatives included - ought now to be deeply embarrassed.
      - - -
     “And what about his character? Obama . . . constantly blam{ed} anything and everything else for his troubles. Bush did it; it was bad luck; I inherited this mess. It {was} embarrassing to see a president so willing to advertise his own powerlessness, so comfortable with his own incompetence.
     “But really, what were we to expect? The man ha{d} never been responsible for anything, so how {did} we expect him to act responsibly? In short: {he was} a . . . small-minded man, with neither the temperament nor the intellect to handle his job.
      - - -
     “It could not have gone otherwise . . .” (Ref. 2)

     American voters were mesmerized by this articulate Black politician, his rhetoric, and the promises he made on the campaign trail. But, “{a}fter nearly eight years in office, . . . Obama has failed on many of his campaign promises and has left America worse-off than it was when he entered the White House.” (Ref. 3)

     Still, one indisputable positive that Barack Obama leaves behind at the end of his presidency is that he proved that an African American can achieve the highest office in these United States. Racism may not be totally dead in this country but, undeniably it is dying. As President Obama has shown, being Black in America needs no longer be a hindrance to advancement to the highest levels.

     As Boston Globe writer Jeff Jacoby stated in the Boston Sunday Globe edition of 8 January 2017, “Obama’s accession in 20028 as the nation’s first elected black president was an achievement that even Republicans and conservatives could cheer.” Unfortunately, “It was also the high point of Obama’s presidency. What followed, alas, was eight long years of disenchantment and incompetence. Our world today is more dangerous, our country more divided, our national mood more toxic.”

     To determine, although prematurely at this point in time, the legacy being left behind by President Obama, let’s examine his achievements and failures in various areas of presidential activity.


     Instead of demonstrating the leadership expected of a president, Barack Obama continually whined and attempted to blame anyone and anything for his failures in office. He came into office blaming former President George W. Bush and his Vice-President, Dick Cheney, for all the country's problems. It never crossed his mind that some of these problems were of his own making or those of the leaders of his own political party. Harry Truman famously said, "The buck stops here!” referring to himself and the White House. His meaning was clear. No matter how the problem arose, it was ultimately up to the President of the United States to resolve the problem.[4] Whining and passing the buck were never a part of President Truman’s time in office. The same cannot be said of President Obama’s time in the White House.

     Obama's first scapegoats were Bush and Cheney, then the rest of the evil Republicans, then it was Fox Cable TV that was to blame, then the evil bankers, the lobbyists, the greedy people on Wall Street, the overpaid corporate CEO's, and on and on and on.[4]

     In a 2012 election-year interview on CBS's 60 Minutes, President Obama said that, as president, he bore responsibility “for everything” but only “to some degree.” He also said that he was disappointed because he wasn’t able to “change Washington from the inside.” In essence, he was admitting his own failure to lead this nation. Over and over, it was: “it’s someone else’s fault”, and “there’s nothing I can do about it.” Those were pretty remarkable statements, coming from a president whose party controlled both houses of Congress for his first two years in office.[4]

     Barack Obama’s political efforts turned out to be ineffective. He “was unable to establish a good working relationship with Congress, even when the Senate and the House of Representatives were both controlled by the Democrats. [Emphasis mine] Friction hampered the realization of many reforms he had planned for employment, immigration, education, energy and gun laws. At times, conflict with Congress virtually paralyzed the government. Although voters gave Obama a second term, they did not trust him enough, and after only two years {they} removed control of Congress from the Democrats . . .” (Ref. 1) and turned over control of the House and the Senate to the Republicans.

     Politically, Obama's economic and social policies, particularly the heavy-handed ramming through of Obamacare, were seen by many as taking the U.S. too far to the left and this was partially responsible for Obama and the Democrats losing control of Congress in the middle of Obama’s first term in office. It may also have contributed to the defeat of Democrat Hillary Clinton by Republican candidate, Donald Trump, in the 2016 presidential election.


     President Obama used executive orders to enact much of his executive policy. Executive orders do not guarantee legality nor permanency. Courts can negate executive orders and successors to the office of the presidency can just as easily countermand executive orders.

     “Much of President Barack Obama’s executive action legacy will be decided by the courts after he leaves office, but he had a rough judicial record while serving. Environmental policy, and presidential appointees have often been swatted away by the Supreme Court.
     “Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, issued a July 2014 report that found 20 instances in which a unanimous high court ruled against the administration. Not all of these cases were executive actions, but legal interpretations by an agency.
     “The Obama administration has fared worse before the Supreme Court than any other modern president’s administration, with a 45 percent win rate,  . . . Obama’s last five predecessors had a win rate of between 60-75 percent before the high court,  . . .
     “{While every} president ratchets up executive power, President Obama has pushed beyond that in pushing administratively what he failed to do legislatively.
      - - -
     “District and appellate level courts halted many of Obama’s executive actions. Some of Obama’s actions still await a ruling in court,  . . .
     “The U.S. Supreme Court and lower federal courts have overturned Obama administration actions that went beyond constitutional and statutory limits at an unprecedented rate,  . . .
     “. . . the unanimous rebukes by the high court came at a much higher rate than for previous presidents.
     “This reflects an Obama administration pattern of ignoring the rule of law and usurping the role of Congress—as illustrated, for example, in its unauthorized efforts to rewrite the immigration laws and the Obamacare statute without congressional authorization,   . . . “ (Ref. 5)


     Barack Obama’s record as leader of his Democratic Party was well summed up in Jeff Jacoby’s 8 January Boston Sunday Globe article.

     “As a political leader, Obama has been a disaster for his party. Since his inauguration in 2009, roughly 1,100 elected Democrats nationwide have been ousted by Republicans. Democrats lost their majorities in the US House and Senate. They now hold just 18 of the 50 governorships, and only 31 of the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers. After eight years under Obama, the GOP is stronger than at any time since the 1920s, and the outgoing president’s party is in tatters.”


     “Shortly after being sworn into office in January 2009, President Obama, along with Democrats in Congress, spent trillions of dollars on government bailouts, stimulus packages and welfare programs all passed with the promise they would reverse one of the most significant economic crashes the country has experienced.
     “{However,} during the Obama administration, there hasn’t been a single year in which the nation’s gross domestic product grew at 3 percent or higher, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. That’s a first [Emphasis mine] – and not a good one – for a modern president.
     “Since January 2008, the U.S. population has grown by more than 20 million, but the number of jobs has increased by less than 7 million – meaning that despite Obama’s boasting about the alleged job growth, the number of jobs created has failed to keep up with population growth, [Emphasis mine] normally considered a poor economic indicator.
     “Additionally, as of November {2016}, there were 95 million Americans out of the labor force, about 14.5 million more than there were when Obama took office, [Emphasis mine] according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
     “. . . Average annual food stamp enrollment is up nearly 16 million compared to 2008.   . . .
     “Thanks in large part to the Obama administration’s government takeover of the student lending industry, the average combined cost of full-time undergraduate tuition, fees, and room and board at a four-year college was $25,400 in 2015 – 25 percent higher in inflation-adjusted dollars than it was in 2008. And outstanding student loan debt now tops $1.3 trillion, the highest in history.” (Ref. 3)

     At the end of 2016, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, Barack Obama will leave the U.S. more than $19 trillion in debt when he leaves office.[6] While in office, President Obama “managed to add roughly $10 trillion to the national debt, about as much as every other president in American history combined . . .“ (Ref. 3)

     Shown below is Barack Obama’s economic legacy in terms of federal deficit spending and the national debt. (Ref. 7) 2008 was the last year of the Bush administration and the years 2009 – 2016 constitute the Obama years.

     Year      Deficit ($billions)      Debt ($trillions)
      2008             458                              10,025
      2009          1,460                              11,910
      2010          1,294                              13,565
      2011          1,295                              14,790
      2012          1,087                              16,066
      2013             679                              16,788
      2014             485                              17,824
      2015             438                              18,151
      2016             587                              19,392

     Since Barack Obama took office in 2009 our national debt has just about doubled; Social Security and Medicare have growing annual deficits; fewer Americans are working; incomes are down; and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

     “Obama took office during a terrible financial crisis and endured a punishing recession. Employment peaked at 10 percent in his first term but since then {as of the end of 2015}, the economy has reclaimed and added 13.12 million jobs and employment is up about 10 per cent.” (Ref. 8)

     Let’s compare President Obama’s performance with that of President Ronald Reagan who came into office facing a similar economic downturn. “The Gipper faced rough times too – double-digit unemployment and interest rates and a bruising recession. Unemployment peaked at 10.8 percent but subsequently the economy added more than 17.2 million jobs and employment rose about 20 percent.
     “The reason Reagan was able to create so many more jobs – in a much smaller economy – is simple. It wasn’t just lower taxes and less spending but rather more reliance on private decision-making to guide recovery. He cleared a path for businesses, large and small, to invest as they deemed fit and raise wages as they decided they could afford, and he encouraged the unemployed to get out and look for work. [Emphasis mine]”
     “Obama, by contrast, has sought to micromanage business through an explosion of regulations, and to pacify a middle class under siege and Americans underemployed or not working at all with giveaways from free contraception to forgiving college debt, from subsidies for solar energy projects and mandatory health insurance to incessant preaching that ordinary folks are victims of racism, sexism and the evil machinations of the well-off.
     “Through the first 25 quarters of Obama’s recovery, GDP growth has averaged 2.2 percent, whereas during the comparable period for Reagan, GDP advanced at a 4.6 percent annual pace.
     “And whereas Reagan’s social safety net assisted the unemployed, Obama’s pays the unemployed to be idle.
     “The 7 million men {and women] between the ages of 25 and 54 who are neither employed nor are looking for work are rewarded with food stamps, the earned income tax credit if their spouse is a low-income worker and federal health care subsidies – and even virtually free health care through Medicaid in many states.
     “For many folks refusing to do anything productive with their lives, Obama is offering an even more attractive benefit – free money in the form of a government pension.
     “Despite the fact that Americans are living healthier and longer lives and work is generally less physically challenging, the percentage of adults ages 16 to 64 certified as permanently incapable of working by the Social Security Disability Insurance program now stands at 5.1 percent – about double the figure in Reagan’s day.
     “A broken appeals system offers a decided advantage to those crafty applicants who hire lawyers – a situation the Obama administration refuses to fix.
     “For hard-working families, the results are predictable – annual family incomes have declined about $1,650 during the Obama years, whereas they increased $3,900 during Reagan’s tenure.” (Ref. 8)

     “A review of Obama's fiscal stewardship of our country would conclude the following: 1) He {was} committed to long discredited economic theories, in spite of their utter and repeated failures, and 2) he {was} unwilling -- or unable -- to consider any other course of action. Having tried the only thing he {knew} -- spend, spend, spend -- Obama {was} at a complete loss. His flawed theory {failed.}” [9]

     One bright spot in the economy during the Obama years has been in the energy sector. But this bright spot has occurred despite, and not because of, actions taken by President Obama. “Between 2009 and 2015, 4.3 million direct and indirect jobs were created because of the increase in domestic oil and gas production, accounting for more than 40 percent of the jobs created.
     “Obama has been no friend to oil and gas producers, however; he has opposed fracking and domestic fossil-fuel development at every turn, denying developers access to millions of acres of oil-rich public lands and waters while rejecting the expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline and halting construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.” (Ref. 3)

     The economy has suffered badly at the hands of Obama but has benefitted greatly from the efforts, the investments, the entrepreneurship, and the tenacity of the private oil and gas companies in America. America is no longer held hostage to foreign oil and gas producers. Americans are now paying less for the energy we use. Some 1.7 million Americans are now employed, directly or indirectly, in the oil and gas industries. Our government now collects taxes from American oil and gas producers that would otherwise go to foreign nations. President Obama can claim no credit for any of these.


     Barack Obama took office during a severe recession and then proceeded to make it even worse. Historically, the deeper the recession, the more robust the recovery that follows. But, under president Obama, the nation’s recovery was the worst in 70 years. Annual Gross Domestic Product growth following the recession has averaged only a miniscule 2.1%, by far the worst economic performance of any president since 1945. President Obama spent more taxpayer money on his “stimulus” program than all of the previous stimulus programs combined. The results were counterproductive. During his time in office, millions of additional Americans have fallen below the poverty line, while the number of food stamp recipients has exploded and the national debt doubled. In 2008, 63% of Americans thought of themselves as middle class – by 2015, only 51% considered themselves as middle class!

     As of mid-2014, the U.S. economy’s recovery from the Great Recession under President Barack Obama and his administration was five years old and was proving to be the slowest and the weakest in U.S. history. By the end of his second term in office, the economy had improved, but economic growth was still anemic.

     According to an Associated Press analysis in mid-2014, “{s}ome 13.9 million more Americans would have {had} jobs . . . had the recovery been at the average of the previous 10 {economic recoveries, and while} the unemployment rate {was} down, {it was} in part because so many people {had} simply given up looking for work.” (Ref. 10)

     “By several measures — gross domestic product, personal income, job growth and employment ratio — the current recovery is among the weakest on record, particularly given its duration. . . .
    - - -
     “Consider the broadest measure of economic activity, gross domestic product. Since the second quarter of 2009 . . ., inflation-adjusted GDP has risen just 10.8% — the slowest growth of any of the five-year periods examined. [Emphasis mine]  . . .
     “This recovery is also dogging it on putting people back to work. Since June 2009, the number of nonfarm payroll jobs in the U.S. has grown by just 5.7% — lower job growth than all but one of the prior lengthy expansions. In the first five years of the 1960s recovery, for instance, payrolls grew 17.3%. They grew 16.4% during the first five years of the 1980s ‘Reagan recovery,’ and 9.6% during the first five years of the tech-fueled boom of the 1990s.
     In every previous recovery before this one, the employment-population ratio — the share of the total civilian population who are employed — has {rebounded} . . . But this time around, the ratio, which stood at 62% just before the late-2008 financial panic, has bounced between 58% and 59% since September 2009.  . . .
     “Given the torpid jobs performance, it comes as little surprise that personal income also has lagged. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, per-capita disposable income (after adjusting for inflation) has grown just 3.2% since mid-2009, to $37,038 as of the first quarter of 2014. In previous recoveries, it was much higher: 11.6% in the first five years of the 2001-07 recovery, and 8.7% in the first five years of the 1990s tech boom.
     “. . . On another closely tracked measure, the economy regained all of its lost payroll jobs just last month. But even that measure doesn’t take into account the population growth during that period. What the chart doesn’t show is that there are about 15 million more working-age people now than there were in January 2008, but essentially the same number of jobs." (Ref. 11)


     In a 2012 campaign speech in Roanoke, Virginia, President Barack Obama stated his true beliefs about capitalism, about free enterprise and about the role of government in America. In essence, what the President said was that he really didn’t believe in the basic American concept of individuality and entrepreneurship. Instead, he spouted the liberal, socialist and progressive philosophy that all economic and societal benefits are derived from the collective - from the state. According to his apparent philosophy, it has been the state - the government - that has actually been the source of our greatness and prosperity. This being true, the so-called rich must give back to “the all-powerful, all-knowing, omnipotent state” that which the state claims they have stolen from the poor and the oppressed. Carrying this philosophy to its natural conclusion then, there should be no individuality – the individual must make himself or herself subservient to the state. The state knows best and will decide what everyone should do and how to spend the money the individual “earns”. In return, the state will decide what benefits to return to the individual. This is nothing but the socialist and Marxist philosophy of collectivism which has failed so miserably wherever and whenever it has been tried. Liberals and left-leaning Democrats like President Obama never tire of trying to resurrect this failed and discredited ideology.

     President Obama has shown himself to be an extension of “the New Deal” – “Great Society” liberalism of a bygone era. During his term in office, we have witnessed massive transfer payments for housing, health care, unemployment, job training, retirement and even funds for food, electricity, and cable television. Under President Obama, we have seen a massive expansion of the federal government’s role – longer-term unemployment benefits, boosts in student loans, and a huge new role in regulating and running the American health care system. At the end of Barack Obama’s time in office, almost half of American residents received federal checks, resulting in the federal debt ballooning to the size of the entire U.S. economy. Obama’s response to this problem was to try and scare a public into fearing that they would see their government checks reduced or eliminated.

     What President Obama tried to do was to impose upon the American people a socialistic economic system that had historically proven to a failure wherever else it was tried. Even at the inception of his first term in office this was recognized and it was written that, “The Obama administration’s agenda of maximizing dependency involves political favoritism cloaked in the raiment of ‘economic planning’ and ‘social justice’ that somehow produces results superior to what markets produce when freedom allows merit to manifest itself, and incompetence to fail. [emphasis mine] The administration’s central activity – the political allocation of wealth and opportunity – is not merely susceptible to corruption, it is corruption.” (Ref. 12)


     “According to President Obama and his Democratic and Liberal supporters, all rich people {were/are} evil. We continually heard the shrill cry coming from the left for the rich to pay their fair share so the government {could} hand out more of the tax-payers’ monies to the other 99%.
     “{The} President and the Liberal Establishment . . . embarked upon a vindictive campaign of class warfare. If you {were} successful and if you {made} lots of money, you {were} vilified. You {became} one ‘of the 1%.’ You {weren’t} ‘paying your fair share.’ You {were} a mean curmudgeon who {took} advantage of ‘the oppressed workers . . .
      - - -
     “ . . . President Obama and Liberal Democrats have ‘bought and paid for’ the votes of many millions of Americans with government hand-outs and entitlements.  . . .
     “The indisputable fact is, a huge percentage of Obama’s voters {were} basically wards of the state. There {were} millions of them and they had no intention of voting for anyone who might want them to ever go out and work for a living – ‘no matter what.’ . . .” (Ref. 4) Under President Obama, America has regressed toward a two-class society, one class being those who work, create, invent and otherwise contribute to the America’s historical leadership as the best economic system the world has ever known. The second class is the “have-nots”, those who are increasingly dependent upon a welfare form of government and perpetual handouts. Under Barack Obama, the gap between the two classes has widened and animosity between the two has increased significantly. The “haves” resent the demand for more and more “freebies” while the ‘have-nots’ demand the continuance of government handouts, entitlements and other “freebies”. Under President Obama, John F. Kennedy’s famous call to the American people – “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” – has been turned upside down and is today taken as – “Ask not what you can do for yourself and your country, ask what your country do for you!” – a sad turn of events and a dishonor to the memory of John F. Kennedy.

     As president, Barack Obama, infamously interfered in domestic events in which he should have simply kept his mouth shut. In 2009, he inadvisably interjected himself into the mistaken arrest of black Harvard Professor Henry Gates in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In other events concerning Blacks and Whites in America, he foolishly stuck his nose in where presidential silence was called for – at least until all the facts were available and until judicial proceedings had concluded. Perhaps most memorably, the president’s remarks on the shooting of Black teen-ager, Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman was uncalled for - particularly by a sitting president and prior to the completion of a criminal investigation and trial. Such behavior only contributed to a deteriorating environment which has become one of Blacks Vs. Whites and subsequently police Vs. Blacks.

     While race relations took a significant uptick with the election of America’s first African-American president in 2008, they have slid down hill ever since – thanks to Barack Obama.


     By the end of Barack Obama’s time in office, the evidence was mounting that “The signature achievement of President Obama . . . - the Affordable Care Act – is crumbling of its own considerable weight.
      - - -
     “The administration has . . . kept up its happy talk on the issue – much of it anecdotal with heartfelt letters from those who now have health insurance who never had it before. Yet much of that might have been accomplished with incremental changes rather than the whole sale shifts that Obamacare attempted to make.” (Ref. 13) Simply put, the evidence continues to mount that Obamacare attempted to do much too much and much too fast! With Donald Trump elected president and the Republicans controlling both houses of Congress, the Affordable Care Act is likely to undergo significant modification if not outright repeal in 2017. Many Americans will not be unhappy to see that come about.


     Under the leadership of Barack Obama, the federal government took an aggressive stance on environmental issue to the detriment of the economy, oil and gas exploration, coal mining and other sectors of the U.S economy. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the direction of President Obama, enacted many regulations (several of which were subsequently thrown out by the courts) that have been deemed to be anti-business and economically unsound. Private business, particularly the small business sector, has been adversely impacted by overly restrictive and scientifically questionable regulations. The Obama presidency has been characterized by complete submission to the whims and wishes of America’s environmental extremists at the expense of the bill-paying public and the private sector. Billions of tax payer dollars have been lavished on “green energy” projects such as the Solyndra solar panel fiasco.

     Under President Obama, arctic drilling in Alaska and off the coast of Alaska has been virtually prevented as has exploration and drilling off the U.S. northeast coast. The Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada has been stalled. Drilling on federal lands in the U.S. has been prevented. It is only because of the investments, technology development and explorations by private companies that the U.S. has ended its long-standing dependence on foreign oil and gas imports. In spite of the Obama administration, America is now energy independent! The Obama administration’s obstructionist environmental policies have resulted in the loss of the opportunity to create new jobs, while also erasing millions in revenue to the government.

     “. . . Thanks to technological innovations such as fracturing (fracking) and multidirectional drilling, the United States has . . . become the number one producer of natural gas in the world and is poised {in mid-2014} to attain the same status in oil produced within five years. But the Obama administration, in thrall of the Democratic Party’s ‘green’ energy, rent-seeking, crony capitalists, has engaged in nothing short of a war on oil, gas, and coal, the combination of which provides plentiful and relatively cheap energy for America.
     “. . . But the most recent campaign in the Obama administration’s war against fossil fuels is a new regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that sets a national limit on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired electrical power plants. Under the plan, carbon emissions would be reduced by 30 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels.
     “Having failed to push his party’s “cap-and-trade’ scheme when he actually had a Democratic-controlled Congress, the president {sought} to achieve his goal by resorting to what is essentially ‘a rule by decree.’ On the one hand, this blatant attempt to achieve the goal President Obama could not achieve by law provides another example of this most lawless of presidents’ intention to run roughshod over the Constitution, the separation of powers, and the American form of republican power.
     “On the other hand the administration . . . delivered a vicious body blow to the U.S. economy. Of course, the cost of energy for consumers will rise but even worse, rising energy costs for manufacturers and other enterprises will place American firms at a competitive disadvantage, reducing investment, economic growth, and employment. Indeed, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, this regulation will kill 224,000 jobs each year.
      - - -
     “The proper way to proceed with any attempt by the federal government to impose new restrictions on energy production is to pass appropriate legislation. This requires that it be put to a vote in the House and the Senate, whose members are directly accountable to voters. The EPA is not a law unto itself, no matter what those who favor these regulations believe.” (Ref. 14)

     While Barack Obama was in office, he allowed the “keep-it-in-the-ground” zealots to victimize the vast majority of Americans. Their actions and plans would deny us a prosperous energy future. Today, in spite of President Obama’s subservience to the “green lobby”, we here in America are reaping the benefits of the energy revolution. The growth in America’s fossil fuel industry helped to keep the economy going after the 2008 financial crisis. Barack Obama can claim no credit for this American success story. His legacy will show that he made every effort to block and impede our fossil fuel industry from succeeding.


     With regard to America’s national defense posture, one source states that Obama has “whittled America’s ‘big stick’ down to kindling.”

America’s Military

     “While ‘resetting’ with Russia and ‘engaging” with Iran, Obama has presided over a tremendous down-sizing of U.S. military strength. The Army’s manpower is down 10 percent since President Obama took office. Our naval capabilities are aging and inadequate to meet our national security demands. The Air Force fields the smallest and oldest force of combat aircraft in its history. The Marines are running only about two-thirds the number of battalions they have historically needed to meet day-to-day operational demands.
     “Most neglected of all U.S. national security elements are our strategic forces. Here, President Obama has reined in development and deployment of ballistic missile defenses. The president cut all advanced missile defense programs designed to keep the United States ahead of the ballistic missile threat in the future. The president also delayed and underfunded existing programs, most notably the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system.” (Ref. 15)

America’s Defense Industry

     As of 2015, only seven U.S. companies have $10 billion or more a year in defense revenues -- Boeing, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, L3 and Raytheon. [16]

     In addition, companies that are not traditional aerospace and defense contractors and have technologies that the Pentagon seeks, are refusing to do business with the Pentagon because of procurement red tape.[16]


     The resurgence of Russia and its increasingly aggressive behavior under Vladimir Putin have gone unchallenged during the Obama time in office. His dithering, toothless warnings, reversals of positions, and repeated inaction have only emboldened the Russian bear.

     “Consider what Putin has achieved. Dealt a very weak hand — a rump Russian state, shorn of empire and saddled with a backward economy and a rusting military — he has restored Russia to great-power status. Reduced to irrelevance in the 1990s, it is now a force to be reckoned with.
     “In Europe, Putin has unilaterally redrawn the map. His annexation of Crimea will not be reversed. The Europeans are eager to throw off the few sanctions they grudgingly imposed on Russia. And the rape of eastern Ukraine continues.
     “Ten thousand have already died and now Putin is threatening even more open warfare. Under the absurd pretext of Ukrainian terrorism in Crimea (reminiscent of Hitler’s claim that he invaded Poland in response to a Polish border incursion), Putin has threatened retaliation, massed troops in eight locations on the Ukrainian border, ordered Black Sea naval exercises and moved advanced anti-aircraft batteries into Crimea, giving Moscow control over much of Ukrainian airspace.
     “And why shouldn’t he? He’s pushing on an open door. Obama still refuses to send Ukraine even defensive weapons. The administration’s response to these provocations? Urging 'both sides' to exercise restraint. Both sides, mind you.
     “And in a gratuitous flaunting of its newly expanded reach, Russia will be conducting joint naval exercises with China in the South China Sea, in obvious support of Beijing’s territorial claims and illegal military bases.
     “Yet the president shows little concern. He is too smart not to understand geopolitics; he simply doesn’t care. In part because his priorities are domestic. In part because he thinks we lack clean hands and thus the moral standing to continue to play international arbiter.
     “And in part because he’s convinced that in the long run it doesn’t matter. Fluctuations in great power relations are inherently ephemeral. For a man who sees a moral arc in the universe bending inexorably toward justice, calculations of raw realpolitik are 20th-century thinking — primitive, obsolete, the obsession of small minds. (Ref. 17)

     In spite of the almost universal agreement in the United States that the world is becoming more dangerous, President Obama allowed the defense structure in the U.S. to decay during his term in office. Conflict continues to rage in the Middle East, Russia shows no sign of easing its aggressive stance, and China's military buildup continues to unnerve the Pentagon. The lack of an explicit military game plan for combating emergent threats, meanwhile, has left the defense sector unsure about how to position for the future. There has been a continued squeeze on federal spending on defense and a growing innovation gap. As a result, top Pentagon contractors in recent years have opted to cut back on research and technology development. On the research and development front, R&D spending has been falling both on the government and industry sides.

     The difference between Russia and the U.S. at the end of the Obama presidency was that Russia had a strategy that it was willing to follow and the Obama administration was hoping the problem would disappear. However, “events have confirmed what many already knew: The so-called Russian reset is dead. Crimea is under the control of Moscow, and it does not appear that Russian troops will be leaving anytime soon. Russia has used the illegal referendum as a way to justify its imperial annexation of part of a neighboring country. Russia’s behavior is a direct violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” (Ref. 18)

     In order “to curry favor with Russia, President Obama pulled the plug on planned missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic, simultaneously alienating those allies while displaying weakness to Moscow.
     “Russia immediately exploited that weakness in negotiations over the New START. The final agreement allowed Russia to build up its nuclear arsenal, while requiring a significant reduction in U.S. nuclear warheads and delivery systems. Moreover, the treaty included extremely weak verification provisions and ambiguous definitions, making it virtually impossible to charge Russia with a violation.” (Ref. 15)

     In July 2015, the incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Senate: “If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I would have to point to Russia. And if you look at their behavior, it’s nothing short of alarming.” (Ref. 19)


     “China worries some Pentagon officials even more than Russia. A recent study by the Rand Corp., titled ‘War with China; Thinking Through the Unthinkable,’ warned: ‘Improvements in Chinese military capabilities mean that a war would not necessarily go the way U.S. war planners plan it. Whereas a clear U.S. victory once seemed probable, it is increasingly likely that a conflict could involve inconclusive fighting with steep losses on both sides.’
     “Top Pentagon officials say that because of Russian and Chinese advantages, the U.S. military ‘overmatch’ has diminished. Planners can no longer guarantee a president that the U.S. could prevail in the early days of a conventional conflict; they fear that the U.S. might lose ‘escalation dominance’ – meaning basically, the ability to call the shots – in a future confrontation.” (Ref. 19)

     During President Barack Obama’s 8 years in office, the United States has frittered away its world military dominance and now faces the strident expansionist policies of Russia and China who have been steadily improving their military capabilities vis-s-vis the U.S. An unstable and belligerent North Korea continues to steadily march toward becoming a nuclear weapons power with ballistic missiles threatening the entire north Pacific region of the world as well as the United States. In the Middle East, Iran threatens its Arab neighbors as it extends its tentacles into Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.


     “Under president Obama the U.S. . . . effectively abdicated its role as world policeman. Using the failure of the war in Iraq as an excuse. America no longer even pretends to be the democratic superpower to whom the wretched of the world can look for help. This has left a moral and physical vacuum at the heart of the global community. And we’re learning the hard way that without a world policeman evil rulers flourish, and the people living under them have to put up with tyranny, however brutal and corrupt.
      - - -
     “Under America’s watch {prior to Obama} the world . . . existed as a reasonably law-abiding place.  . . . slowly and irrevocably, that ultimate protection {has been} withdrawn.  . . .” . (Ref. 20)

     Barack Obama’s record in foreign relations has been totally abysmal. As one expert put it, “the world has gone to hell in a hand-basket” (Ref. 21) under Obama’s watch. He stated that he wanted to “lead from behind” and in that sense, he has delivered on his promise. His presidency, especially his foreign policy, was continually characterized by almost always being one or more steps behind unfolding events.

     His “resets” and retreats on issues such as the missile defense for Eastern Europe allowed Russia’s Putin to believe that he could slice away parts of Ukraine and get away with it.[10] Putin’s conclusions have proven correct.

     In 2009, the newly elected president immediately got off on the wrong foot when, “on June , 2009, at Cairo University, President Obama delivered a speech that reverberated through the Muslim world.   . . . Israelis were deeply insulted that Obama did not follow up his Cairo speech with a trip to Israel and furious that he would admonish Israel on settlements before an Arab Audience.” (Ref. 22)

     Some seven years later, the results of Obama’s Cairo speech can be better evaluated. Here in America, and certainly in Israel, the consequences of that speech have been viewed as negative, ill-conceived and ultimately damaging to U.S. interests in the Moslem and Arab world. But, what about Obama’s standing in the Middle East, where his speech was designed to improve American-Islamic and American-Arab relations? In the Middle East, the perception of Barack Obama some seven years after the start of his charm offensive, and following Donald Trump’s surprise election, may be summarized as follows: “Obama has destroyed the region, Trump will build it anew.” (Ref. 23) The only parties applauding Obama’s Middle East initiatives these days are not friends of America, most Arab countries and not Israel. The only real beneficiaries of President Obama’s Middle East policies appear to be Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iran, Bashar Hafez al-Assad’s Syria, and Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

     President Obama’s time in office was long on promises and pronouncements and short on achievements “{i}n the fields of Foreign Affairs and Security. He promised to remove US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, to strike at al-Qaida, improve relations with Russia and China, and to reconcile with the Muslim world and historical enemies such as Iran and Cuba. He made a distinction between radical Islamic groups, like al-Qaida, where there is a fight, and moderate Islam like that of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the {radical extremist} Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, with whom {he felt there was} a need to cooperate. Only a small portion of these goals {if any} were reached.” (Ref. 1)

     Obama naively believed that he could fundamentally change the relationship between the US and hostile governments and peoples. His first visits to the Middle East in Ankara and Cairo were conducted to achieve this goal. He proposed a historic reconciliation with Muslims and Arabs, but his policy has turned out to be an abject failure. Hostility from these nations towards the United States is not due to one particular policy or another, but rather their rejection of the values held by the U.S., its liberal western lifestyle, and its support of Israel.

     As a result of President Obama’s failed foreign policy, America’s adversaries have exploited his passivity by seizing Crimea, destroying Aleppo, holding Americans hostage for ransom, illegally testing long-range missile, continuing nuclear weapons development, and cracking down on democratic dissidents. His failed foreign policy has led to a Middle East awash in blood, U.S. troops reengaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, human rights and democracy losing ground, multitudes of refugees destabilizing a number of nations, the rise of neo-fascism and anti-Semitism in Europe, Islamic terrorist attacks throughout the world, and the lowest U.S. credibility since the Jimmy Carter years. Only a mother could love someone with a record like that!


     President Obama made an ill-advised promise before he took office - he promised to empty Guantanamo Bay of Jihadist POWs. Still worse, he acted upon this campaign promise. “Congress . . . blocked Obama’s plan to close Gitmo. To get around them, he has been releasing prisoners. Last summer {2016}, Obama released the largest number of detainees.” (Ref. 24) The truth is that many of those released pose a threat to the U.S. and other peoples around the world. But, campaign promises are campaign promises!

     Nearing the end of his term in office, the president was doing his best to empty the prison – “a parting gift should Hilary Clinton succeed him or a failsafe measure should his successor be Donald Trump. He may fall short of that goal, but it sure won’t be for lack of trying. There were 242 terror suspects in the prison when Obama took office in 2009.” (Ref. 25) In August of 2016, 61 prisoners remained in Gitmo when 15 more detainees were put on a plane to the United Arab Emirates. Unfortunately, “the statistics show that one-in-five detainees will return to the battlefield in some fashion.” (Ref. 25) We are faced with the fact that “the president is . . . willing to put American lives – particularly the lives of American military personnel still stationed in an increasingly volatile region – at risk to keep an ill-advised campaign promise. “ (Ref. 25)

     Another ill-conceived action intended to gain support from the bleeding hearts in America involved the exchange of five Taliban prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay for U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl – a deserter in time of war.

     “Bergdahl, an Army sergeant from Hailey, Idaho, walked off his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was held captive by the Taliban and its allies for five years.
     “The Obama administration's decision in May 2014 to exchange him for five Taliban prisoners being held at the U.S prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, touched off a firestorm of criticism, with some Republicans accusing Obama of jeopardizing the safety of a nation for a deserter. Lawmakers expressed outrage that the Obama administration did not give Congress a 30-day notice about transferring the detainees to Qatar, as required by law.” (Ref. 26) The law and the Constitution have not always stood in this President’s way.

     The US-led military effort against the Islamic State group, ISIS, started three or more years ago and was aimed at halting the jihadists as they swept across Iraq, leaving a trail of human butchery and destruction in their wake. It was going to be a swift and restricted campaign that would help local forces deal a "lasting defeat" to ISIS. But after expending billions of dollars and more than 14,000 airstrikes later, such optimistic assertions are proving not just wrong but naive.

     When President Barack Obama launched air strikes in Iraq in August 2014, officials stressed US involvement would not be long. President Obama, elected on a promise of ending America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, vowed ground troops would not be dragged back into another conflict – a vow that told America’s foes and allies that we were not serious in our commitment to destroy jihadist terror.

     Anyone who was cognizant of history and who was watching ISIS develop from 2010 to 2014 knew very well that this was going to be a very long-term battle, and the idea that no US troops were going to be involved was just wishful fantasy. Within weeks of the first strikes in Iraq, the air campaign spread to Syria. The fight later expanded to Afghanistan and then to an air campaign in the ISIS group's Libyan stronghold of Sirte.

     By the end of Barack Obama’s term in office, the war on radical Islam was in full force. As contrasted to the decisive war against Saddam Hussein after he invaded Kuwait, Obama’s war on ISIS, al Qaida, and radical Islam is certainly not one of “shock and awe”, but is, instead, one fought with a small whisper.

     The war against Islamic terrorism, under President Obama, was fought with no clear strategy nor ultimate objective. “Some of America’s most decorated generals and a former intelligence official of the highest rank declared {in late January 2015} that the Obama Administration has no clear, overarching plan for how to win our various Middle East conflicts. [Emphasis mine] . . .
     “Without a clear strategy from the White House and the return of a robust defense budget, the United States is set for failures in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, argued former generals James Mattis and John Keane, as well as former admiral William Fallon in congressional testimony . . .
     “The United States ‘needs to come out from our reactive crouch and take a firm strategic stance in defense of our values,’ . . . a former commander of U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.” (Ref. 27)

     Much has been said about President Obama’s irrational refusal to say that radical Muslims were and are responsible for the wave of terrorist attacks that occurred during his time in office. Obama stubbornly refused to acknowledge that we were engaged in a war against religious zealots, even as the casualties from their rampages escalated. While Obama trumpeted the death of Osama bin Laden, he ignored or was oblivious to the fact that offshoots of al Qaeda will continue to be a threat even after he has left office. His dismissive characterization of ISIS as a “JV team” illustrated his naivete and ignorance of facts that were staring him in the face. Obama leaves office with the mistaken belief that we are not engaged in a long-lasting war with radical Islam. Because of that mistaken belief, there was no way that he could conduct an effective war against Islamic terrorism and consequently, the war on terrorism during his administration only amounted to ground lost, and, most importantly, to uncountable lives lost.

The Arab Spring

     “Obama was unable to formulate a coherent policy in regards to the Arab Spring. {In utter confusion}, he first abandoned} Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, whom he described at the beginning of his tenure as one of the US's most important allies in the region, {then he} ignored the aspirations of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to establish an Islamic theocracy, {next he} sharply criticized the counterrevolution of current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.” (Ref. 1) Finally, Obama was forced to support the military government of El-Sisi as the only stabilizing force in this vitally important Arab nation. The Obama administration exhibited total confusion, reversed itself on several occasions and succeeded in confusing both our enemies and our allies. In the end, everyone lost confidence in America’s ability to lead.

The Arab Nations

     President Barack Obama’s determination to downgrade U.S. international power has generated massive global instability and chaos with especially ominous implications for Israel. This is one of the legacies of the Obama doctrine in foreign relations.

     “The Obama policies have undermined longstanding alliances within the Western bloc. By supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and allying with terrorist and rogue states like Iran, the U.S. has alienated Arab states such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which consider themselves abandoned and betrayed.
     “The wooing and groveling toward Iran has empowered the world’s leading Islamic terrorist state, enabled it to become a threshold nuclear power and exacerbated the conflict between the Shiites and Sunnis, which has led to the emergence of new Islamic barbarian groups like ISIS. The Islamic fundamentalists have reintroduced the Dark Ages to the region in which mass murder, rape and beheadings of civilians have become rampant.
     “Obama’s vacillating policies have resulted in the weakening of Arab states like Syria and Libya with consequent horrendous casualties and the displacement of millions. When controlled by the despotic Moammar Gadhafi, Libya had voluntarily abrogated its nuclear ambitions and undertaken to eschew terrorism. Obama’s enthusiasm to “democratize” the country led to the overthrow of the dictatorship, the assassination of the American ambassador and the transformation of Libya into a major terrorist launching pad which may ultimately necessitate military intervention.
      - - -
     “The downgraded U.S. influence enabled President Vladimir Putin to reassert Russia as a major global power and achieve greater influence in the Middle East than the Soviets ever attained. Most Arab states today regard Russia as a more reliable ally than the U.S.” (Ref. 28)

     By the end of Barack Obama’s term in office, the Egyptians, Jordanians, Saudis and other Gulf States were relying more on Israel for security assistance than on the U.S. Among the nations of the Middle East, only the mullahs in Iran had a better relationship with the White House than they did with Israel.

     The Obama policy of Withdrawal and Noninvolvement in the Middle East has created a disaster not only for the peoples living there but for the rest of the world – and that includes the U.S.

     Obama’s haste to abandon Iraq was a leading cause of the emergence of ISIS to fill the vacuum created by this hasty and ill-advised withdrawal of American forces in 2011 before that country had stabilized.

     The Obama administration’s halting efforts to train and arm moderate Syrian rebels failed to take advantage of a window of opportunity. This failure has turned out to be a major contributor to the disaster occurring now in Syria. This failed opportunity to oust Assad has resulted in the emergence of Russia and Iran as the leading powers in that volatile region of the world. While Obama threw up his hands and asked “what can I do?” Vladimir Putin raised his hand and sent in the Russian military that, along with military aid from Iran, is now defeating the forces opposed to the Syrian dictator and allowing the establishment of a terrorist safe haven and supply base in Syria, that threatens every other country in that region.

     “One would think that Obama would have learned from his past mistakes in the mid-East. He has alienated the Saudis, the Egyptians, the Jordanians, the Emirates and other allies by his actions and inactions with regard to Iran, Syria, Egypt and Iraq. Everything he has touched has turned to sand.” (Ref. 29)


     The United States’ policy in its dealings with Egypt is a story of incoherence, uncertainty, and lack of leadership. We failed to back Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak – not necessarily the most democratic leader in the world, but one who had provided stability in the region and was friendly toward the United States. Sometimes one has to hold one’s nose when dealing with foreign leaders. Let’s not forget our cooperation with Josef Stalin in the war against Nazi Germany. We might not approve of all the actions of China’s Communist leaders, but we continue to deal with them.

     For a time we supported the “democratically elected” Mohamed Morsi, backed by the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt. Then we kept somewhat silent as he was deposed by the Egyptian military and their leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, even though Sisi and the Egyptian military are friendly to the U.S and Israel, and are opposed to the terrorist groups, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. U.S. support of Sisi is not clearly evident. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin has offered to supply the Egyptian military with arms which would help Russia’s efforts to re-establish its influence in the Middle-East. “Obama’s inability to maintain America’s historic alliance with the most respected nation in the Arab World inflames an already volatile situation and spells nothing but trouble for the U.S.” (Ref. 30)

     Obama also erred in belatedly endorsing the Arab Spring, a position that some described as “madness,” given the likely radical Islamist takeover. In demanding that then-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak leave office “now,” Obama undermined the value of the U.S. as an ally to many of America’s friends. America’s allies saw how Obama treated a long-time friend.

     As former Israeli ambassador to the united States, Michael Oren wrote in his book, Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide, “That single act of betrayal–as Middle Easterners, even those opposed to Mubarak, saw it–contrasted jarringly with Obama’s earlier refusal to support the Green Revolution against the hostile regime in Iran.”


     While Obama participated in NATO's military intervention in Libya, this led to the assassination of Muammar Gaddafi and the current ongoing tribal and civil war there. The situation now is considerably worse than it was before the intervention. Obama stood by as the civil war in Syria raged on, killing more than half a million people to date, with hundreds of thousands injured and half the population becoming refugees.


     U.S. involvement in Iraq and Syria has been ineffective and U.S. policies under Obama have emboldened threats like Russia, North Korea, and Iran. Obama’s precipitous withdrawal of troops from Iraq to fulfill a campaign promise have led to the rise of terror groups like ISIS as well as the “return of Russia to the Middle East and the emergence of Iran as the most likely hegemony.” (Ref. 21)

     All of America’s hard-earned achievements in ousting Saddam Hussein were undone by President Obama’s determined commitment to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq during his presidency. He did what he was determined to do and, as a result, Iraq collapsed and Iran has been rushing in, increasing its influence to an unprecedented degree.


     In Iran, Obama refused to aid the “Green Revolution”. In the summer of 2009, a revolution in Iran threatened to topple the mullahs. Leaders of the so-called “Green Revolution” pleaded for support. They got none. President Obama did nothing to aid the pro-democracy elements that were seeking to overthrow the Islamic theocracy. The president essentially cast his lot with the Iranian regime during its most vulnerable period since the 1979 revolution and thus guaranteed that the democratic uprising would fail – it was our best chance of having the Middle East cleanse itself of the most malignant and dangerous regime on earth.[31]

     The nuclear pact with Iran remains questionable and some claim that the pact has only made Iran more dangerous. “By granting Iran everything and more that it wanted from the nuclear program, it opened the door to Iran becoming more influential in the region.” (Ref. 21)

     Then there’s the $400 million payment to Iran that was/was not ransom for 4 Americans that it had been holding hostage. The payment to Iran was “(1) in cash, (2) in various currencies, (3) in wooden crates, (4) in the dead of night, and (5) delivered in an unmarked airplane simultaneously with Iran’s release of four Americans it had been holding hostage – and whom the Iranians had theretofore been unwilling to release . . . “ (Ref. 32)

     President Obama insisted that the payment was not ransom money but money owed to Iran since 1979. Why was the money in different currencies, other than dollars? The president “said it was necessary because of our strict laws and regulations against engaging in a wide range of financial transactions with Iran.” (Ref. 32) Let me try to understand this. It’s illegal to engage in a financial transaction with Iran, but its O.K. if the transaction is in foreign currency? C’mon, you’ve got to be kidding! Ransom? Coincidence? Hey, if it looks like a duck …


     Syria stands out as one of the worst examples of Obama’s foreign policy disasters. We have Obama’s infamous “line in the sand” pronouncement. America’s inactions in Syria have created one of the worst refugee crises in recorded history and have contributed greatly to the rise of ISIS, that supposedly irrelevant “JV team”. The major facet of the Obama Syria policy was the ousting of Syrian president, Bashar Assad. Instead, “Vladimir Putin may be on the cusp of a pivotal victory in Syria’s civil war that would make it much harder {impossible?} for the U.S. to achieve its goal of ousting President Bashar Assad without a major military escalation.
      - - -
     “It’s been almost a year since Putin stunned the U.S. and its allies by entering the conflict to battle Islamist militants and prop up an old ally, turning the tables on Western and regional powers intent on regime change.  . . .” (Ref. 33)

     In addition to Russia’s ascendency in the Syrian crises, the U.S. has also allowed Iran to overshadow the American presence, or lack thereof, in the region. Iran now is a major player in Syria and it continues, as the major sponsor of worldwide terrorism, to funnel money and arms to Hezbollah, a designated terrorist organization.

     With respect to Obama’s foreign policy in Syria, one source described it as, “ Syria is where Barack Obama’s foreign policy legacy came to die. [Emphasis mine]
      - - -      “{Syria’s} Assad with the backing of his Russian patron Vladimir Putin, who has supplied the bombers and the bombs for more than a year now, will remain the thug in charge for the foreseeable future. . .
     “{Referring to talks with Russia about a Syrian rebel surrender in December of 2016, it was said:} “It’s what this administration does best – talk big, do precious little, then quietly cave to dictators.” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 34)

     The wild fluctuations in Obama’s foreign policy were particularly evident in Syria, where former Secretary of State under Obama, Hillary Clinton, called dictator Bashar Assad a “reformer,” in spite of gruesome evidence to the contrary. Eager to appease Iran, the Obama administration quietly tried to keep Assad in power before flip-flopping. And even when Assad’s use of chemical weapons was obvious, Obama did not act on his own “red line.” A deal brokered with Russia to remove Syria’s chemical weapons – and first suggested by Israeli minister Yuval Steinitz – didn’t allow Obama to save face. After all this, the Obama administration completed its course reversal and has since demanded the ouster of Assad.

     Syria will be “remembered as yet another genocide the United States, still looked to as the world’s de facto leader, failed to act to stop. The world had higher hopes for Obama’s leadership. Years ago, after America’s still-new president addressed the potential of the Arab Spring in a speech in Cairo, the Nobel dreamers awarded him their peace prize.
     “But more than a decade of battles in the region had left America and its president worse than war weary. Obama infamously drew his ‘red line’ warning Assad against using chemical weapons – but when Assad used them, Obama didn’t respond . . .” (Ref. 35)

     Near the end of Obama’s presidency, the humanitarian disaster in Aleppo in Syria ”is the legacy of a president and an administration that was content to ‘lead from behind’ and in the process reduce U.S. foreign policy to rubble.” (Ref. 36)


     In nearby Turkey, American foreign policy has been unclear at best. “With Turkish authorities accusing the U.S. of complicity in the failed coup and U.S. and European Union official’s condemning Erdogan’s purge, the Turkish leader is turning to Putin to forge a new strategic partnership. The two leaders will meet in St. Petersburg . . . a day after Putin holds talks with Iran’s president, Assad’s other major benefactor.” (Ref. 33) Clearly, America, under the leadership of President Obama, has become a non-player in this region.


     Obama unrealistically and foolishly placed finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the top of his list of international priorities. His increasingly strained relations with Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and ill-conceived U.S. initiatives, which only strengthened the Palestinian's stubbornness, doomed his strategy from the outset.

     With friends like that, who needs enemies? - Definition: Something that you say when someone you thought was your friend treats you in an unpleasant way.

     Look at the treatment that our supposedly best friend and most steadfast ally in the Middle East has received from the Obama administration! Israel has refused to join President Obama in surrendering to the Islamic fanatics that rule Iran. For opposing an agreement that could mean the extermination of the State of Israel and the 8 or 9 million people that live there, Obama has treated the re-elected Israeli prime minister with contempt and disrespect characteristic of a spoiled brat who takes a fit when he doesn’t get his way. President Obama was willing to wage a political war with a friend and ally, and, at the same time, didn’t have the guts to stand up to a mid-east bully who almost daily proclaimed “Death to America”

     As discussed by Joel B. Pollak (Ref. 37), the Obama administration’s treatment of Israel was addressed in Michael Oren’s book Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide. Oren is the American-born historian who served as Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. during President Obama’s first term. Some of the episodes, such as Obama’s “snub” of Netanyahu during a 2010 visit to the White House, are well-known. Others are not, such as an encounter between Oren and then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice in New York, in which she threatened to drop support for Israel at the UN if the Netanyahu government did not “freeze all settlement activity”. Obama and rice infamously followed through on that threat as the President’s time in office neared its end.

     On another occasion, the White House blackballed several guests from the ceremony at which Obama awarded Israeli President Shimon Peres the Presidential Medal of Freedom – simply because they dared to have criticized Obama on television.

     Though polls indicate that support of Israel by ordinary Americans was at, or near, an all-time high, and defense cooperation remained close, tensions between the American and Israeli governments had seldom been worse.

     The ill-advised Team-Obama’s push for peace between the Palestinians and Israelis in 2013-14 largely involved browbeating the Israelis – the results were predictable – the stalemate continues and the two-state solution envisioned by Obama and the State Department remains a total delusion.

     Obama’s hostility toward Israel and its Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu in particular, continued to be a prime reason for the failure of the “peace process” to advance. For example, when Netanyahu gave a speech endorsing a Palestinian state in 2009 –becoming the first Likud prime minister to do so – the White House ignored him. Instead, the pressure on Israel continued, causing the Palestinians to dig in and refuse to compromise.

     Obama and his foreign policy advisors have no comprehension of how middle-eastern bargaining and negotiations are conducted. But, still worse, they have the hubris to ignore their ignorance and they continue to stumble around in their blindness - like bulls in the proverbial china shop – enabling, if not creating, an ever-worsening situation. As Oren has pointed out, the irony of Obama’s poor mistreatment of Israel has backfired by reinforcing Palestinian extremism.

     Obama’s speech in Cairo in June 2009, was “tactically, a killer” for the peace process, because it implied that Israel had no legitimacy other than as compensation for the Holocaust, thus reinforcing the Arab world’s rejection of Israel.

     In the 2014 war with Gaza, Obama hurt Israel by describing its response to Hamas rocket attacks as “appalling,” even though Hamas deliberately put Palestinians in the line of fire. Later, Obama delayed arms shipments to Israel and even barred U.S. flights from landing at Ben-Gurion Airport as a punitive measure. “Hamas won its greatest-ever strategic victory,” said Oren.

     “The hostility to the Israeli government by its principal ally has provided enormous impetus to its adversaries. The double standards employed by the administration and classification of Israel as morally equivalent to the terrorists and the failure to directly reprimand Palestinian leaders engaged in incitement to murder Jews and sanctification of the killers as national “martyrs” -- reflect morally outrageous behavior. At a time when almost half a million Syrians were butchered and 4 million displaced from their homes, the focus of U.S. ire was against Israeli construction of homes even in the Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem. This blatant hostility by the Obama administration provided global encouragement to anti-Israeli forces and gave the green light to the Europeans to pressure Israel to make further unilateral concessions and recognize the indefensible 1949 armistice lines as the basis for permanent borders.  . . .” (Ref. 28)

     Because Obama saw nothing special about America, its dominance in the world presented a moral problem for him. As president, Oren notes, Obama set out to solve that problem by courting America’s enemies and shunning its allies. That policy has continued throughout Obama’s 8 years in office. And, according to Oren, Obama wants “to withdraw from the Middle East irrespective of the human price.”

     Left-wing hostility toward Israel emerged as Obama launched what Israelis regarded as an ill-informed “experiment” in U.S. foreign policy that failed to recognize the importance of steady American leadership abroad.

     The president wanted to revolutionize relations with the Muslim world, boost cooperation with the UN, reach a nuclear deal with Iran, and create “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel.

     Barack Obama’s foreign policy legacy in terms of his dealings with Israel will perhaps be best remembered by his vindictive betrayal of that nation during the last few weeks of his presidency. In a reversal of long-standing policy and in direct contradiction to his action in 2011 when he was facing a re-election campaign, Obama, in December of 2016, refused to veto another in a long line of anti-Israel resolutions (Resolution 2334) emanating from the United Nations Security Council.

     “The vicious condemnation of Israel at the UN Security Council on December 23, 2016 {was} a watershed moment in U.S.-UN relations – albeit not as President Obama hoped. Following the vote of fourteen in favor and one American abstention, Palestinian representative Riyadh Mansour and American Ambassador Samantha Power exchanged a telling handshake. Evidently, President Obama believe{d} that he has put one over on Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu and the incoming Trump administration.  . . .
     “Let’s be absolutely clear about what ha{d} just happened. The Palestinians . . . completed the hijacking of every major UN institution. The 2016 General Assembly . . . adopted nineteen resolutions condemning Israel and nine critical of all other UN states combined. The 2016 Commission on the Status of Women adopted one resolution condemning Israel and zero on any other state. The 2016 UN Human Rights Council celebrated ten years of adopting more resolutions and decisions condemning Israel than any other place on earth. And now – to the applause of the assembled – the Palestinians … add{ed} the UN Security Council to their list.
      - - -
     “Obama’s failure to veto the resolution {was} at odds with long-standing American foreign policy that has insisted on peace through negotiations, and not UN-fiat, as the only way to ensure genuine and long-lasting recognition and cooperation.  . . .
     “At its core, this UN move {was} a head-on assault on American democracy. President Obama knew full well he did not have Congressional support for the Iran deal, so he went straight to the Security Council first. Likewise, he knew that there would have been overwhelming Congressional opposition to this resolution, so he carefully planned his stealth attack.
     “He waited until Congress was not in session. Members of his administration made periodic suggestions that nothing had been decided. There were occasional head fakes that he was ‘leaning’ against it. He produced smiling photo-ops from a Hawaiian golf course with no obvious major foreign policy moves minutes away. Holiday time-outs were in full-swing across the country. And then he pounced, giving Israel virtually no notice of his intent not to veto.
     “Profound betrayal of a true democratic friend of the United States is the only possible description.
      - - -
     “The Security Council and President Obama leave a trail of devastation across the planet, with evil empowered and good forsaken.  . . .
     “. . . {certainly, t}he perfidy of Barack Obama will not be the last word.” (Ref. 38)

     Obama’s despicable action in failing to veto the anti-Israel resolution in the UN was so reprehensible that it even drew scathing opposition within his own Democratic Party. “Congressional Democrats issued scathing statements aimed at the Obama administration over the US's abstention from a Friday UN Security Council vote demanding Israel stop building settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.
     “Leading Democrats from both houses called out the UN as an inappropriate venue for rejuvenating the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. They objected to the Obama administration's departure from what they view as decades of established US policy of vetoing UN resolutions regarding Israeli settlements.
     “Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said it was ‘extremely frustrating, disappointing and confounding’ that the Obama administration failed to veto the UN's vote.
     "Schumer called out the UN as a ‘fervently’ anti-Israel body, since the days of ‘Zionism is racism.’
     " ‘Whatever one's views are on settlements, the UN is the wrong forum to settle these issues,’ Schumer said.
     “Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, called the US's abstention from the vote ‘unconscionable.’
     " ‘A two-state solution must be negotiated directly between the Israelis and Palestinians, and this resolution flies in the face of this necessity,’ Blumenthal said.
     “He also said support for Israel must remain ‘bipartisan,’ and that he'll work with colleagues on ‘both sides of the aisle’ to advance ‘productive measures’ that strengthen the US's relationship with Israel.
     “Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said that he would work to form a bipartisan coalition to ‘suspend or significantly reduce United States assistance to the United Nations.’
     “Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said that he was ‘deeply disappointed’ that the Obama administration allowed such a ‘one-sided’ resolution to pass.
     " ‘Actions like this will only take us further from the peace we all want to see,’ Wyden said.
     “And Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia said ‘one-sided resolutions’ at the UN are counterproductive to the peace process and ‘achieving a two-state solution.’
     " ‘I am dismayed that the administration departed from decades of U.S. policy by not vetoing the UN resolution regarding Israeli settlements,’ Warner said.
     “Rep. Eliot L. Engel, a Democrat from New York and the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he was ‘very disappointed’ by the US's ‘acquiescence to a one-sided, biased resolution at the United Nations Security Council.’
     " ‘I have always believed that Israel can't get a fair shake at the UN, and that is why Israel has relied on the United States to protect it from the anti-Israel tendencies of some UN Security Council members,’ Engel said.
     Engel further said that the text of the resolution places the ‘blame’ for the stalled peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians ‘entirely on Israel.’ “ (Ref. 39)

     What Mr. Obama’s petulance “reveals clearly is the Obama Administration’s animus against the state of Israel itself. No longer needing Jewish votes, Mr. Obama was free, finally, to punish the Jewish state in a way no previous President has done.” (Ref. 40)

     Even Obama’s own ambassador to the United Nations could not help but condemn the anti-Israel bias of the U.N. as she refrained from vetoing still one more example of the UN’s grotesque and blatant hatred of Israel. When she voted to abstain from vetoing resolution 2334, UN Ambassador, Samantha Powers said: “One need only look at the 18 resolutions against Israel adopted during the UN General Assembly in September; or the 12 Israel-specific resolutions adopted this year in the Human Rights Council – more than those focused on Syria, North Korea, Iran, and South Sudan put together – to see that in 2016 Israel continues to be treated differently from other Member States.(Ref. 41)

Russia, Iran and America in the Middle East

     In August 2016, “ Russian bombers flew out of Iranian air bases to attack rebel positions in Syria. The State Department pretended not to be surprised. It should be. It should be alarmed. Iran’s intensely nationalistic revolutionary regime had never permitted foreign forces to operate from its soil. Until now.
     “The reordering of the Middle East is proceeding apace. Where for 40 years the U.S.-Egypt alliance anchored the region, a Russia-Iran condominium is now dictating events. That’s what you get after eight years of U.S. retrenchment and withdrawal. That’s what results from the nuclear deal with Iran, the evacuation of Iraq and utter U.S. immobility on Syria. [Emphasis mine] Consider:
     “The nuclear deal was supposed to begin a rapprochement between Washington and Tehran. Instead, it has solidified a strategic-military alliance between Moscow and Tehran. With the lifting of sanctions and the normalizing of Iran’s international relations, Russia rushed in with major deals, including the shipment of S-300 ground-to-air missiles. Russian use of Iranian bases now marks a new level of cooperation and joint power projection.
     “These bombing runs cross Iraqi airspace. Before President Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq, that could not have happened. The resulting vacuum has not only created a corridor for Russian bombing, it has gradually allowed a hard-won post-Saddam Iraq to slip into Iran’s orbit. According to a Baghdad-based U.S. military spokesman, there are 100,000 Shiite militia fighters operating inside Iraq, 80 percent of them Iranian-backed.
     “When Russia dramatically intervened last year, establishing air bases and launching a savage bombing campaign, Obama did nothing. Indeed, he smugly predicted that Vladimir Putin had entered a quagmire. Some quagmire. Bashar al-Assad’s regime is not only saved. It encircled Aleppo and has seized the upper hand in the civil war. Meanwhile, our hapless secretary of state is running around trying to sue for peace, offering to share intelligence and legitimize Russian intervention if only Putin will promise to conquer gently.
      - - -
     “Obama made {his worldview} perfectly clear in speeches at the U.N., in Cairo and here at home in his very first year in office. Two terms later, we see the result. Ukraine dismembered. Eastern Europe on edge. Syria a charnel house. Iran subsuming Iraq. Russia and Iran on the march across the entire northern Middle East.
     “At the heart of this disorder is a simple asymmetry. It is in worldview. The major revisionist powers — China, Russia and Iran — know what they want: power, territory, tribute. And they’re going after it. Barack Obama takes Ecclesiastes’ view that these are vanities, nothing but vanities.
     “In the kingdom of heaven, no doubt. Here on earth, however — Aleppo to Donetsk, Estonia to the Spratly Islands — it matters greatly.” (Ref. 17)

     In still another display of toothless bombast, The United States in late September 2016 threatened “to halt talks with Russia on the war in Syria and scrap plans for joint military targeting of jihadists unless the Russian and Syrian militaries stopped bombing Aleppo.
      - - -
     “But {significantly} the Obama administration did not say what steps it would take if diplomatic efforts failed entirely or how it hoped to deter Russian and Syrian forces from their offensive against rebels in Aleppo, the divided northern Syria city that has become a focal point of the war.” (Ref. 42) The Obama-Kerry team once more continued to make meaningless threats, while displaying a total inability to develop and follow a cohesive, rational and forceful foreign policy initiative. While the U.S. was blustering, the Russian-Syrian bombing of Aleppo continued with no fear on their part of American action! By the end of December, 2016, the Russian/Assad/Iran team had just about completely driven the reformist Syrian rebels out of Aleppo while essentially destroying the city and killing or wounding thousands of the civilians trapped there.


     Afghanistan is another example of tossing a friend to the wolves. American relations with that country had soured toward the end of President Hamid Karzai’s term in office and under whom corruption had soared. Afghanistan’s newly elected president, Ashraf Ghani, held out the promise of ending government corruption and of improving relations with the U.S. To accomplish these objectives, Ghani needed the help of the U.S. and the other nations that had delivered Afghanistan from the oppressive rule of the Taliban. Here was a golden opportunity to deliver a knockout blow to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and to push back the rising tide of global Islamic jihad.

     After all the blood spilled and money invested in freeing that country from the clutches of a repressive Islamic fundamentalist theocracy, “is it really possible . . . that Obama could blow this opportunity for a happy ending in Afghanistan? The answer, unbelievably, is yes.
     “The White House seems more focused on putting the failed Afghan war behind it than helping Ghani stabilize the country. . . .
      - - -
     “. . . Obama {is insisting} that the timeline for a complete withdrawal ‘remains the end of 2016.’ Obviously, he wants to say he ended the war by the time he leaves office. Yet the deadline threatens to pull the rug out from under Ghani before he can show results.
      - - -
     “. . . {An American} troop exit would tell the Taliban – or ISIS –that America has lost interest in the country and there is a vacuum to be filled.
     “We saw something similar in Iraq when the administration failed to leave a 10,000-troop residual force beyond 2011 and stopped paying attention. ISIS and Iran filled the vacuum.
     “This bitter lesson should have changed Obama’s thinking on Afghanistan, but it hasn’t . . .
     “In Afghanistan, the 2016 deadline has already decreased Taliban interest in negotiating a peace deal with Ghani. Why talk now when they can wait until the last American troops exit?
      - - -
     “The saddest aspect of Obama’s ambivalence is its timing. Ghani’s election presents new opportunities to stabilize Afghanistan and coincides with geopolitical shifts that could rally the region to the cause. American diplomacy could play a critical role. ‘The United States remains an indispensable interlocutor,’ said Ghani.
     “But only if Obama overcomes his eagerness to turn his back on Afghanistan by the end of 2016.” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 43) Now, 2016 has ended and the outgoing American president has done nothing to reverse the deteriorating trend in Afghanistan.


     The restoration of normal relations with the island nation of Cuba after 50 years could turn out to be the one shining light among the failed diplomatic initiatives of the Obama years. Certainly, the normalization will benefit the Cuban nation economically. But the repressive and dictatorial communist regime still remains to afflict the people there. The death of former dictator, Fidel Castro, may foster the relaxation of the repressive rule by the country’s communist party. Fidel Castro’s successor and brother, Raul, “has promoted reforms of Cuba’s economy that include allowing Cubans to start small businesses. His older brother’s death could remove an obstacle to further economic reforms.” (Ref. 44) Human rights violations remain an issue and could cause friction between the U.S. and the communist regime in the coming years. On the other hand, resuming relations could bring significant benefits to both the United State and Cuba. Only time will tell.

     Although unlikely, the normalization of relations with Cuba could be reversed. “With the recent death of Fidel Castro . . . and Donald Trump’s threats to reverse President Barack Obama’s historic initiative to restore U.S. relations with Cuba since an embargo was made against Cuba in the 1960s, the future of relations between the two countries remains an uncertain one.” (Ref. 45)

America’s Role in Europe and Elsewhere

     Under Barack Obama’s leadership, America foolishly began to withdraw from the defense of Western Europe, only to find a threat to Western Europe once again coming from the eastern steppes of Mother Russia. “In 2013 {during Barack Obama’s 2nd term in office}, the last American tank temporarily left European soil . . .
     “But, hold the presses; in historic irony, only a year later, upgraded American Abrams tanks were sent back to Germany in response to Russia’s move into the Ukraine and the general threat that Vladimir Putin’s posturing poses to the Baltic States and NATO. [Emphasis mine] . . .” (Ref. 46)

     After the end of World War II, the world understood where the United States stood with regards to its foreign relations. When Russia instituted the Berlin blockade, the U.S. instituted the Berlin Airlifts; when N. Korea started the Korean War, the U.S. came to the aid of S. Korea; America fought and won the Cold War; our friends throughout the world found the U.S. to be a steadfast and reliable ally. American might and resolve were unquestioned.

     Following eight years of Obama foreign policy misadventures, dithering and toothless rhetoric, our “allies and our enemies have seriously recalculated where the U.S. stands. It was not difficult to define American geopolitical strategy over the seven decades following World War II — at least until 2009.  . . . In Asia,  . . . {t}he U.S. military essentially guaranteed the security of {the} Asian nations, and they developed safely, shielded from Soviet or Chinese Communist aggression, and more recently from Russian or Chinese provocations.  . . . The U.S. tried to combat terrorism, whether, as in the past, Communist-inspired or, more recently, prompted by radical Islam. In the latter regard, the U.S. sought to make the world unsafe for al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and various terrorist groups funded by Iran and, more stealthily, by opulent Persian Gulf autocracies and rogue Middle East regimes like that of the Assads in Syria.  . . . {For} the last 70 years, American strategy mostly worked and thus created the present globalized world.  . . . Over the last {nine} years, those long-held strategic principles have largely been ignored or rejected by the Obama administration. There is real doubt today that the U.S. would risk coming to the aid of South Korea, Japan, or Taiwan. If Putin tomorrow sent a division into Estonia to deliberately provoke an Article V NATO response, he might well not get one — and therefore may well try.  . . . Our allies assume that since 2009 American friendship is mostly rhetorical or ceremonial, but no longer exists in the sense of any serious guarantees. The U.S. might intervene again against a dictator, but only if it could do so by leading from behind, with other powers in the front line, and only if the target were weak and clearly tottering. So, for example, we followed France and the United Kingdom into Libya, once it was evident that Qaddafi’s days were numbered, while steering clear of unilaterally punishing Syria for WMD use, although thousands more had been killed in Syria than in Libya, by an Assad who had much more fight in him than did Qaddafi.  . . . Our policy with regard to Egypt would be seen as a disaster, if anyone could figure out what exactly the American policy was. The pivot to Asia was a toothless gesture. If Obama’s current Asian policies persist, most of our major allies in the Pacific will probably go nuclear in the next few years. There is not much special relationship any more with Britain or Israel.  . . . What drives the Obama anti-strategy? The world is confused.  . . .” (Ref. 47)

     “During Obama's presidency, the US dropped from a position of world leadership that it had held since the Second World War. Following Russia's military interventions in Ukraine and Syria, relations with the US deteriorated and reached a crisis level reminiscent of the Cold War. Russia's president Putin seemed to set clear, strategic goals, and was determined to reach them and protect his allies. Obama also failed to deal with China's aggression in the South China Sea and North Korea's conduct concerning its nuclear program. In view of this, the US's allies in Asia such as Japan, South Korea and the Philippines are wondering if they can rely on the US.” (Ref. 1)

     In Eastern Europe, America’s commitment to the nations on Russia’s western border were called into question by the Obama administration’s actions. “When the Obama Administration abruptly cancelled the emplacement of missile defense components in the Czech Republic and Poland . . . in 2009, those two countries felt as if the rug had been pulled out from underneath them. This was especially the case after both had offered unwavering support for missile defense in spite of staunch Russian opposition. . .” (Ref. 18)

     In 2013, “The United States . . . effectively canceled the final phase of a Europe-based missile defense system that was fiercely opposed by Russia and cited repeatedly by the Kremlin as a major obstacle to cooperation on nuclear arms reductions and other issues.” (Ref. 48)

     “The failure of the Obama Administration’s Russian ‘reset,’ the unilateral disarming of Europe, and the U.S. reduction of forces and disengagement from Europe have led Russia to calculate that the West will not respond in any significant way {to its militaristic adventures in the Crimea, the Ukraine and elsewhere in Eastern Europe}.” (Ref. 18)

Pivot to Asia

     “While much of Obama's foreign policy doctrine has been consumed by wars in the Middle East, a pivot to Asia was supposed to be a prominent part of Obama's legacy.
     “But since Obama's final trip to Asia as president turned out to be a bit of a disaster, that legacy looks to be uncertain.” (Ref. 49)

     His Pivot to Asia initiative has failed. North Korea marches on to being an ever-growing nuclear threat; China is now more aggressive than ever; the Filipinos want to throw us off their islands; and our once-unchallenged naval power in the region continues on its downward spiral. This failed policy was supposed to herald a strategic “pivot” from the Middle East to Asia. What this “pivot” has done, is to feed the Middle East to Iran, ISIS and other Middle East despots while failing to rein in anti-America powers in the Far East and bringing into question America’s willingness and ability to stand with our allies in the region. With Obama leaving office, South Korea and Japan have more to fear from North Korea’s atomic weapons and ballistic missiles than when Obama assumed office. Hong Kong democracy is being destroyed by Beijing. Southeast Asia watches as Communist China sticks its finger in America’s eye by building an artificial island in the South China Sea and declaring it be part of mainland China. China’s fighter planes endanger American naval aircraft and ships and America responds with diplomatic finger shaking.

     China’s South China Sea challenge is a serious one and not just to the United States. China’s claims are in violation of international law! It’s a challenge and a threat, to the other countries of the region. Under President Obama, this threat has gone without any serious or effective challenge.

     “The anemic ‘Asia Pivot’ has failed. The Philippines are now openly pro-Russian and pro-Chinese. Traditional allies such as Japan, Taiwan and South Korea are terrified that the United States is no longer a reliable guarantor of their autonomy.” (Ref. 50)

Unintended Consequences

     President Obama and his administration’s history of failing to consider the second-order effects of their foreign policy initiatives demonstrate that their policy was simply very naïve efforts at expectation management rather than comprehensive and meaningful foreign policy strategy. Examples: 1) The Obama administration successfully toppled Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi, but failed to secure or rebuild the nation post-conflict so that it has become a terrorist haven that potentially threatens Europe and all of North Africa. 2) The administration fulfilled its campaign pledge to withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq, but failed to maintain the influence necessary to prevent that country from descending into sectarian conflict and generating a greater threat to U.S. security in the form of ISIS and a reconstituted al Qaeda. And 3) the administration pushed for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that neither side requested without thought to the consequences if they ended unsuccessfully.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Pact

     One aspect of Barack Obama’s foreign policies had to do with trade. Late in 2016, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact was signed. Since the plan has not been ratified nor has it gone into effect, its effects won’t be determined for several years. There are arguments pro and con on the impact of the pact on the American economy. At this time, how the pact will influence President Obama’s legacy remains unclear. But, like most of his foreign policy actions, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact is currently highly controversial.

     “Even {former Secretary of State} Hillary Clinton came out against this failed initiative. It has little support in Congress or among the public.” (Ref. 50)

     “The signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, comes after negotiators finally reached a final agreement in October. The deal creates a free trade zone among 12 Pacific nations that together account for 40% of the world's economy.
       - - -
     “In the U.S., critics argued that U.S.-made goods would be forced to compete against products produced by low-wage workers overseas, while advocates said it would boost exports and support well-paid jobs at home.
       - - -
     “In the long-run, the deal -- which excludes China, the world's second-largest conomy -- could help cement American influence in the Pacific, and give the U.S. more power to set the rules of global trade across much of Asia.” (Ref. 51) On the other hand, it could lead to the flight of more jobs from the United States to the Pacific Rim nations with lower wages.

Global Warming Treaty

     Opponents of President Obama’s Paris Global Warming Treaty worry that it could cost the United States more than $12 trillion over the next 25 years according to calculations performed by environmental activists. The required expenditure averages about $484 billion a year over the period, calculated Bloomberg New Energy Finance with the assistance of the environmentalist nonprofit group Ceres.

     “That’s almost as much money as the U.S. . . . spent on defense in 2015, according to . . . numbers from the bipartisan Committee For Responsible Federal Budget.  . . .
     “Bloomberg’s estimates are likely low, as they exclude costly energy efficiency measures.  . . .” (Ref. 52)

     Here again, the Obama administration’s foreign policy initiative is highly controversial and the actual results will not be apparent for many years to come – both in terms of the effectiveness of the initiative in reducing global warming and its impact on the American economy and our job market.

The Net Results of Obama’s Foreign Policy

     His Reset foreign policy initiative with Russia has died. It likely was stillborn. What ever happened to his famous Lead From Behind approach? It indeed has put the U.S. “behind” the eight ball in terms of foreign influence. The much ballyhooed Arab Spring is now nothing but a bleak winter for those in the Arab countries who hoped for greater freedom and the introduction of real freedom and democracy. The Obama administration’s repeated attempts to force a Middle East peace between Israel and the Palestinians was never realistic and was doomed to fail from day one. Attempts at diplomacy with Vladimir Putin proved to be a fool’s errand. Much the same can be said of the administration’s futile attempts to rein in North Korea’s madman, Kim Jong-Un. The Pivot to Asia initiative has proven to be a hollow phrase without impact and without any tangible results. The Obama administration’s initiatives with respect to global warming and trade agreements are controversial at best and their benefits uncertain.

     At the conclusion of Barack Obama’s presidency, it has become clear that nearly every one of his foreign policy initiatives is a failure. To just about all open-minded individuals, except the isolationist troglodytes who want to keep their heads buried in the sand, American foreign policy under the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency has been an unmitigated string of failures with negative repercussions that will endure long after he has left office.

     The overall foreign policy strategy of America should be made crystal clear to all and it should be relatively consistent. The president of these United States needs to make absolutely clear to everyone, friend and foe alike, exactly where this country stands. Uncertainty and equivocation are not options. How the U.S. will achieve its objectives and the time scale for taking any necessary actions to implement its strategy should remain unknown to our potential enemies – keep them guessing. After eight years in office, it should be quite clear that, under Barack Obama, this was not the case and this was a major contributor to the many failures of his administration in dealing with the turbulent world around us.


     As he leaves office, the impression of Barack Obama’s legacy is that he will not be ranked among America’s better presidents. Likely, he will be listed as one of America’s worst performing leaders. There are few, if any, of his executive actions that can be identified as having a significant positive and long lasting impact on this country and upon the world. His legacy may well be that, both domestically and upon the world stage, he talked a good game but never delivered when the chips were down. America is more divided than when he assumed the presidency. America’s standing as world leader and a friend to our allies in time of need are no longer unquestioned facts. America is in debt as never before and our military capabilities have dangerously deteriorated. At the changing of the guard in early 2017, to the question, “America, are you better off today than you were 8 years ago?”, my answer would have to be a resounding “NO!” Judging by the 2016 presidential election results, many of my fellow Americans concurred in this assessment. As one pundit put it in early January of 2017, “The most positive thing that can be said about Obama’s time in office is it’s almost over.” (Ref. 3)

     For more on Barack Obama’s legacy, you are invited to read an earlier article on this web site, titled, My Choices for Worst Presidents in my Lifetime, (Ref. 53) as well as several other articles on this same web site that have dealt with various issues during President Obama’s time in office.


  1. Analysis: Obama's legacy from abandoning allies to making peace with enemies, Eytan Gilboa, i24news,
    29 October 2016.
  2. Government & Society, Matt Patterson, American Thinker
  3. The good news:Obama’s time in office is almost over, Justin Haskins, Boston Herald, Page 19, 3 January 2017.
  4. I’m Voting For . . . Because . . . , David Burton, Son of Eliyahu; Article 142, 27 September 2012.
  5. 7 Big Judicial Setbacks to Obama’s Executive Overreach, Fred Lucas, The Daily Signal, 7 October 2016.
  6. The US is almost $20 trillion in debt; who do we owe?, Lindsay Gloor, AOL Finance, 9 december 2016.
  7. US National Debt by Year , U. S. Department of the Treasury, 2 January 2016.
  8. GOP best pick for boosting economy, Peter Morici, Boston Herald, Page 17, 1 January 2016.
  9. Is Obama Insane? , Matt Patterson, American Thinker, 8 September 2011.
  10. The real Obama ‘story’, OpEd, The Boston Herald, Page 14, 19 August 2014.
  11. Five years in, recovery still underwhelms compared with previous ones, Drew Desilver, Pew Research Center,
    23 June 2014.
  12. Absolute audacity corrupts, George F. Will, Boston Herald, 14 May 2009.
  13. ACA on the ropes, Editorial, Boston Herald, Page 14, 18 August 2016.
  14. New EPA regulations jobs, economy killers, Mackubin Thomas Owens, The Boston Herald, Page 17, 5 June 2014.
  15. Under Obama, Our Military’s Strength Has Significantly Decreased, James Carafano and Michaela Dodge,
    The Daily Signal, 26 July 2015.
  16. Defense 2016: A Year of Big Decisions, Sandra I. Erwin, National Defense, 28 December 2015.
  17. The price of powerlessness, Charles Krauthammer, 18 August 2016.
  18. Beyond the Crimea Crisis: Comprehensive Next Steps in U.S.–Russian Relations, Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., Jack Spencer, Luke Coffey and Nicolas Loris,, 25 March 2014.
  19. Pentagon eyes new weapons to deter Russia, China, David Ignatius, Boston Herald, Page 15, 18 August 2016.
  20. When the Policeman Abdicates, Paul Johnson, Forbes, Page 17, Page 42, 7 September 2015.
  21. U.S. closer to conflicts under Obama watch, Kimberly Atkins, Boston Herald, Page 8, 17 October 2016.
  22. The Two-State Delusion , Padraig O’Malley, Penguin Books, Pages 2-3, Published 2016.
  23. Trump Brings New Hope, Bereshit; Issue No. 168, Page 4, 16 November 2016.
  24. Light at the end of tunnel as Obama is nearly gone, Holly Robichaud, Boston Herald, Page 10, 12 December 2016.
  25. Emptying out Gitmo, Editorial, Boston Herald, Page 16, 17 August 2016.
  26. Bowe Bergdahl seeks pardon from Obama to avert desertion trial, Associated Press, Los Angeles Times,
    3 December 2016.
  27. Obama’s ISIS Policy Has Critics in High Places, The American Interest, 29 January 2015.
  28. The fallout of the Obama doctrine: Global chaos and its implications for Israel and the Jewish people, Isi Leibler, The Jerusalem Post, 23 March 2016.
  29. Trump was Right to Try to Stop Obama from Tying his Hands on Israel, Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute, Page 14, 23 December 2016.
    Joe Calandra Jr, Liberty News, 21 August 2013.
  31. Counting Up Obama’s Cataclysmic Foreign Policy Failures, Peter Wehner, Commentary Magazine,
    26 may 2015.
  32. If It Looks Like A Duck . . ., Editorial, The Jewish Press, Page 7, 12 August 2016.
  33. Putin Power Play in Syria, Boston Herald, Page 23, 8 August 2016.
  34. Surrender in Syria, OpEd, Boston Herald, Page 16, 9 December 2016.
  35. Never again, but then genocide again, Martin Schram, The Boston Herald, Page 17, 16 December 2016.
  36. Failure in Aleppo, OpEd, The Boston Herald, Page 16, 16 December 2016.
  37. Former Israeli Ambassador: Obama Has a Problem–with America, Joel B. Pollak, Breitbart, 16 June 2015.
  38. Diplomatic terrorism at the UN, courtesy President Obama, By Anne Bayefsky, Fox News, 24 December 2016.
  39. Democrats scorch Obama over UN vote condemning Israeli settlements, Jeremy Berke, Business Insider,
    23 December 2016.
  40. Obama’s Anti-Israel Tantrum, The Wall Street Journal, 23 December 2016.
  41. Security Council Res. 2334: Game Changer or Not?, Alex Safian, CAMERA ALERT, 25 December 2016.
  42. Syria Talks Will End if Aleppo Bombing Continues, U.S. Tells Russia, Michael R. Gordon, The New York Times, 28 September 2016.
  43. Obama overeager to quit Afghanistan, Trudy Rubin, Boston Herald, Page 17, 31 March 2015.
  44. Castro dies amid uncertainty about U.S.-Cuba relations, Mike Seemuth, The Real Deal, 26 November 2016.
  45. Future of Cuba-U.S. relations is unclear, Kendra Gravelle, The Narragansett Times, 3 December 2016.
  46. Defeating ATGMs, Burt Keirstead, Journal of Electronic Defense; Vol. 39, No. 12, Pages 80-84, December 2016.
  47. America’s New Anti-Strategy, Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, 8 April 2014.
  48. U.S. Cancels Part of Missile Defense That Russia Opposed, David M. Herszenhorn and Michael R. Gordon,
    The New York Times, 13 March 2013.
  49. Donald Trump could erase Obama's legacy almost as soon as he takes office, Pamela Engel,,
    4 December 2016.
  50. Assessing the Obama legacy, Davis Hanson, The Washington Times, 7 December 2016.
  51. The controversial Trans-Pacific trade pact has been signed, Sophia Yan, CNN Money, 4 February 2016.
  52. Obama’s Paris Global Warming Treaty Will Cost at Least $12.1 Trillion, Andrew Follett, The Daily Caller,
    1 February 2016.
  53. My Choices for Worst Presidents in my Lifetime, David Burton,; Article 255, 1 July 2016.

  12 January 2017 {Article 279; Politics_33}    
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