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Saturday, December 17, 2016

The legacy of President Obama- a centrist foreign policy

President Barack Obama's foreign policy is a lot like his domestic policies.....Centrist. To begin with lets look at some of his earliest promises. He planned on emptying the concentration camp in Guantánamo Bay, that his predecessor, George W. Bush built to hold undesirable Middle east folks.

“In the dark halls of Abu Ghraib and the detention cells of Guantánamo, we have compromised our most precious values,” Obama said, according to The New Yorker.

The prison held 779 prisoners under the former Prez. George W. Bush. And while Obama's words of wisdom are right, there were a few prisoners there he didn't feel OK with releasing. Most of the original prisoners were either innocent or they had not violated international law on the rules of war. Most of those were released. There were just a few. Today there are 126 prisoners that Obama is reluctant to release outside the US. He tried to relocate them in US maximum prisons but various US congress people have stood in his way. Kansas for instance has some maximum security prisons that could easily take these last few terrorists. But US Representative Mike Pompeo and others like him have resisted that idea. They claim that the state prisons just aren't safe for such dangerous criminals. But in reality, the Republicans want to keep Guantánamo Bay open and expand it. Many Republicans have not minced words on this.

"These detainees aren't in Gitmo for parking tickets," Gardner, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a video released Saturday. "They're there because they want to kill Americans and hate everything that we stand for. They're the worst of the worst."

Of course that is ridiculous. We have some really bad people in our local prisons, such as serial killers. We can hold them. The Republicans just don't want to.
Some things Obama has done are good for the country. He finally relaxed US relations with Cuba. The US should have done that years ago. This country works with Communist (even though it is really revisionist) China. Why then not have relations with the last Marxist government in the world and a country just a few hundred miles away. Our next president Donald Trump has indicated he may reverse this action and go back to our back-ward cold war years.
The Iran deal was a good idea for this country. Iran is not a progressive country, but why fight an unnecessary war with them. Our future president Trump claims he will rip that agreement up. Obama was never able to get a decent agreement from North (Democratic People's Republic of) Korea and he has not made much effort in those respects. Trump claims he can work out a deal with North Korea. We will see.
Then there is our imperialist invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama has not expanded them but he has not stopped them either. As with Guantánamo Bay, Obama hinted he would remove all troops from Iraq, when he ran for office. But that is not what he did. He did withdrawal most forces on 21 October 2011. But when ISIS (Islamic State) started to take Iraqi territory from the US puppet regime, Obama went back. We are now locked in a war with ISIS. Many of us feel this war was unnecessary on our part. We are being attacked because the US decided to take up arms against ISIS.
Then there is the puppet regime in Afghanistan. Bush invaded the country to go after Al-Qaeda. But it was never necessary to replace that government with a US puppet. Many people thought Obama would take all US Troops out of Afghanistan. But that never happened. And by the time Obama leaves office he will have increased the number of troops in that conquered land.
His policies in Israel have not been that good. But as a centrist he has not gone to the far right or the far left. He has done little to support the rights of Palestinians nor has he gone out of his way to help Israel's hard liners, who at present, want to liquidate Palestine and the Palestinians. President-elect Trump wants to support Israel with their current ultra-far-right leaders who want nothing to do with peace.
Some of what Obama has done is pure imperialism. He has ordered  Bashar al- Assad ( بشار حافظ الأس) to step down in Syria, a position he has no right to make. He has supported the Free Syrian Army, which is the most right-wing guerrilla movement since the Nicaraguan Contras.  
The whole issue of BenghaziLibya was a Republican non-issue. Obama worked hard to oust Muammar al-Qaddafi (محمد القذافي). That was pure imperialism and not necessary at all. But then came the attack in Benghazi. It was a justified response by those who resented the US interference in their internal affairs. The Republicans claimed that Hillary Clinton and Obama were responsible. They were only in that they should have stayed out of Libya to begin with. That was not what the Republicans were complaining bout.
In Latin America Obama has not directly interfered in the Bolivar revolutions, in Latin America, including democratic socialist regimes such as Hugo Chávez, in
Venezuela, in the first part of this new century. We don't know yet if future Prez. Trump will change that.
So this is a quick run down. For those who wanted a less imperialist foreign policy—no luck on that front. The far far right, under future Prez. Trump may be far far far worse than any of us on the left had imagined. We will see.
But this article is about Obama. His foreign policy was not great or even satisfactory. It is too bad I don't expect things to get better. Obama did some good and it may not have been nearly enough.

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