To the legions of admirers of outgoing US president Obama; here is the thing.
He did not really morph into the transformative president he championed he would, when running for office in 2008.
What is worse of all, he won the Nobel peace prize in 2010 for something that could not be of his making! And he won prize whilst still presiding over the war in Afghanistan and Iraq and overseeing the detention of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; something he had promised he would close but, didn’t.
He does not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize and any a conscionable person with a moral compass to match would surely return it to the organizers. But Obama did not!
Even as the Paris climate change agreement, the nuclear accord with Iran and the Trans-Pacific Partnership maybe his trophies to crow over, the Iran deal may just unravel.
To begin with, there was nothing smart over his ‘smart power’ foreign policy initiative. The world did not see it. In its place was a rehash of the old Bush doctrine of waging military campaigns from Somalia and Yemen to Iraq and Syria and initiating “targeted killing” of even US citizens with suspected ties to terrorism. Obama championed “a nuclear-free world” only to quietly pursue an extensive expansion of the US nuclear arsenal.
Like Bush, he paid little heed to international law — or even American law — when it came in the way of his overseas military operations. He did not seek UN or US congressional authorisation before launching an air war in Syria, bragged about red line that Syrian president Bashar-Al-Assad ought not to cross and committed perfidy when taking out Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
The collapse of the Libyan state has created a jihadist citadel at Europe’s southern doorstep and Obama must take responsibility for the creation of ISIS, a charge he has not denied when president-elect Donald Trump raised it last year.
With Washington clinging to a failed Pakistan policy, the longest war in US history still rages in Afghanistan and the president who once valiantly and effusively promised change has gone out in history with a whimper.