Alwaght– In 2009 when Barack Obama, a Democrat, took place of the Republican George W. Bush in the White House, it was expected that the US foreign policy witnesses a change in tactics. Barack Obama came to power on the strength of pledges for boosting the economic conditions at home and ending the American wars around the world.
To actualize his goals in cross-border activities, Obama marked three principles as his foreign policy bases: defense, diplomacy, development. Unlike his predecessor in the White House, Obama aimed at pursuing his goals through a soft power and so resorting to economic and diplomatic means to ease his job of promoting democracy and peace around the world. He also sought collective measures on the international stage. For example, he led the NATO war on Libya after the UN Security Council approved the Resolution 1973.
But, Has Obama left behind a positive record in the American foreign policy after eight years in office?
As part of his plan to counter China as the US’ key economic rival in the whole world, President Obama has tried to boost relations with other countries of the Southeast Asia to tighten encirclement of Beijing. Bolstered military ties with Japan and South Korea and conducting military drills in the South China Sea only incentivized China to beef up military capabilities and try to break out of the enclosure.
Notwithstanding an emphasis on use of the diplomacy, Obama failed to make any mentionable success in Southeast Asia. On the contrary, the applied policies of Obama have increased the military costs for the US and its allies in the region.
On the other side, in Ukraine, too, the US president failed to react properly, only putting a ban on arms sales to Kiev to steer clear of war in the region. But the US-led Western military drills in the face of Russia as well as the anti-Moscow economic sanctions sent the Ukrainian crisis to a state of freeze, and the situation there was forgotten among big waves of West Asia and Syria news.
By reducing the US forces in Afghanistan to 9,800 troops, the US president hoped that he could give the Afghan government a bigger role in providing the security and at the same time display himself as winner of the longest US war. But a failure to develop the necessary capacities in the Afghan police and army forces to face Taliban and Al-Qaeda deteriorated the security situation there, to a degree that some of Pentagon officials accused Obama of wasting the US money and several-year travail in Afghanistan.
The same situation was repeated in Iraq. Aided by more governing experiences compared to Kabul, Baghdad managed to prevent power gain of the Baathists and other adversary groups, however. But at the end of the road, Washington’s indifference to supporting its regional allies against terrorism caused emergence of ISIS terrorist group in the majorly Sunni areas of Iraq.
As the political developments began to sweep through the Arab world in 2011, Obama decided to resort to collective action to address the situation. This approach was well displayed in NATO invasion of Libya. But the fact is that later events and experiences in West Asia showed that reliance on the UN Security Council cannot be considered a top way in president Obama’s foreign policy.
To implement the major US strategy the “Greater Middle East” and so guarantee the Israeli regime’s security in the region, the White House has so far declined to react to the staunch military, political, and financial backing of Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia for the ISIS’ and al-Nusra Front’s terrorists fighting the Syrian government.
Obama’s foreign policy proved successful in terms of implementing the American strategy of creating chaos and instability in West Asia to reach Washington’s goals. Going silent in front of the Saudi Arabian measures, the US president succeeded in allowing the ethnic and religious struggles to flare up. Difference on dealing with terrorism even stirred polarization among the Sunni sides.
This pushes us to decide that even Obama’s friends are discontented with the current situation. For example, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has deemed influx of refugees to Europe as sign of failure of Obama’s West Asia policy, suggesting that the only way to stop outflow of refugees from Syria to Europe is bombing Damascus and the Syrian army’s positions.
On the other side, the head of foreign policy commission in the Turkish parliament accused the White House of changing its Syria strategy on an annual– and even almost monthly– basis, saying that it is unacceptable for Turkey as an ally of the US that the Kurdish People’s Protection Units ( YPG) are also allies to Washington in Syria.
Amos Harel, an Israeli journalist and political analyst, has described Aleppo liberation by the Syrian forces as the climax of the loss of Obama’s foreign policy, adding that following Aleppo win, the Russia-Iran-Syria military coalition will move to Idlib in west of Aleppo as its next station in a bid to distance the threats posed to the Syrian government from the close western fronts, especially that Russia operates a port and an airbase in this part of Syria.
An overall view of Obama’s foreign policy indicates that he suffered from a kind of confusion in the face of the fast-moving developments. Obama sees the nuclear deal with Iran as a point of pride in his foreign policy record, a deal that limited Iran’s nuclear activities through diplomacy.
But the fact is that continuation of the international sanctions against Iran could be a different job. Due to increasing presence of China and Russia in the Iranian market, the Europeans were reluctant to see the anti-Tehran embargo remains in place. Furthermore, the UN Security Council’s resolutions failed to curb the progress of the Iranian nuclear program. The military option, due to Iran’s deterrence, was deemed an unviable and so eliminated choice.
Amid such conditions, the negotiations with Iran yielded a nuclear accord. But very short later, the word spread that the US sold arms to Saudi Arabia and the Israeli regime, an issue laying bare the fact that using the diplomacy as a tool in dealing with Iran was simply a political inertia.
Failing to react to the Saudi war on the neighboring Yemen, the US president proved he was eager to see ongoing militarism in the region. Additionally, his so-called international anti-ISIS military coalition made no considerable gains, only costing its members $200 million every day, and at the end of the road it was the Syrian and Iraqi armies that managed to push ISIS terrorist group back using the Russian air cover, the popular committees’ support, and Iran’s advisory services.
In addition to all of these points, the attention-grabbing issue is the Tel Aviv officials’ discontent with Obama foreign policy team’s lack of seriousness for settling the Palestinian issue.