With Donald Trump in the White House it makes sense to worry about the direction US foreign policy is going in. But such understandable concerns about the future may lead us to forget just how destructive the previous president’s foreign policy has been.
The Obama administration bombed people in 8 countries, enforced crippling sanctions that caused widespread suffering in already poor regions, played an active role in 2 coups d’état, allied the US with neo-Nazis in Ukraine and Al Qaeda (Al Qaeda!) in Syria, and played dangerous war games with nuclear Russia.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of Obama’s foreign policy horrors. Lest we forget.
1. Bombed people in Yemen.
2. Bombed people in Pakistan.
3. Bombed people in Afghanistan.
4. Bombed people in Somalia.
5. Bombed people in Iraq.
6. Bombed people in Syria.
7. Bombed people in the Philippines.
8. Started (with NATO) a war in Libya that left a country in ruins, cost thousands of people their lives, created hundreds of thousands of refugees and led to Islamic extremists taking control of large parts of the country.
9. Supported Saudi Arabia (with arms and intelligence) in its brutal war against Yemen.
10. Fueled and prolonged war in Syria that left a country in ruins, cost hundreds of thousands of people their lives, and created millions of refugees.
11. Instigated, fueled and prolonged a civil war in Ukraine that cost thousands of people their lives.
12. Worsened a famine in Somalia by threatening and punishing banks engaged in remittance services which caused the flow of remittances (which account for half of Somalia’s official gross national income) to dry up.
14. Enforced sanctions against Iran that cause shortages in e.g. medical supplies, and strongly hinder economic activity and hence economic development.
15. Enforced sanctions against Syria that cause shortages in e.g. medical supplies, and strongly hinder economic activity and hence economic development.
16. Enforced sanctions against Sudan (before lifting them in the last week of his presidency) that caused shortages in e.g. medical supplies, and strongly hinder economic activity and hence economic development.
17. Enforced sanctions against Russia that hurt ordinary Russians.
War Games with Russia
22. Backed authoritarian regimes that oppress their own people.
23. Allied with and helped Al Qaeda in Syria.
24. Allied with and backed Neo-Nazi militias that kill Russian-oriented civilians in Eastern Ukraine.
Other Bad Stuff
25. Fought a War on Drugs that causes chaos and violence in countries such as Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia.
26. Continued to have prisoners tortured via extraordinary rendition.
27. Carried out cyberattacks against Iran damaging Iranian infrastructure.
28. Deployed US Special Operation forces in 60% of the countries in Africa.
Three Genuine Achievements
- Despite pressure from within the foreign policy establishment, Obama avoided war with Iran.
- Despite pressure from within the foreign policy establishment, Obama avoided war with Russia.
- Obama improved relations with Cuba.