Charles Moore, writing in the UK’s The Telegraph, is an admitted supporter of Barack Obama’s presidency — that is, except for a few key foreign policy failures on the part of the Administration. The title of a recent post by Moore is, “Iraq: Barack Obama’s self-regarding goodness is bad news for the rest of us.” Here is its subtitle: “The would-be Peace President, by failing to grasp [the strategy of force,] will leave a legacy of war.”
A president receiving criticism from his current or former supporters is nothing new, but those who have soured on important parts of Obama’s agenda have used particularly harsh words. This might be due to the fact that so many had an unrealistic hope for what Obama was to accomplish. Here is some of what Charles Moore had to say in that post:
People blame the new horrors in Iraq on the American-led invasion in 2003. But the exact reason why the country is in civil war today is because the Americans are not there. If US troops were still present, the fanatical ISIS, the “Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham”, would not have swept through the north of the country and now be threatening Baghdad.
Despite Obama’s attempts to win over America’s former enemies, Moore writes:
[I]n the Muslim world, the people who were bitterly anti-American for reasons way beyond the invasion of Iraq were not converted or even appeased. Nor did anti-Western wolves like Vladimir Putin want to lie down with the new American lamb. They watched and waited to see what Mr Obama would do.
The new American foreign stance was to be chilly towards friends and nicer towards enemies. Out went the bust of Churchill from the Oval Office, and the Obama administration sent no high representative to Lady Thatcher’s funeral. Israel and Saudi Arabia, America’s most important allies in the Middle East, felt disrespected. There was a sharp contrast between Obama’s dropping of his country’s old friend Hosni Mubarak in Egypt in the face of the Arab Spring, and Putin’s staunch and successful defence of his ally, Bashar al-Assad, in Syria.
Note this these next two — the emphasis is added:
And, of course, [Obama] did not like anything military. He withdrew from Iraq, leaving it without US troops and without proper intelligence, and began to do the same from Afghanistan. By a paradox that often afflicts leaders who shun military affairs, he ordered quite a number of deaths.
Mr Obama is not a pacifist. He sees the utility of force in individual tricky situations. It would not be at all surprising if he uses a bit of it soon, in drone or aerial form, in Iraq. What he does not see is its strategic value. He does not grasp, apparently, that the Pax Americana, under whose protection we have lived since 1945, has existed because it has always been backed by the credible threat of force. Weakness is provocative to bad actors, and some of the world’s worst have now been provoked. This seems to have come as an almost complete surprise to the Obama White House. The Peace President is starting to leave a legacy of war.
It feels as if the world is in for a more dangerous time than any since the Carter/Brezhnev era of the late Seventies – or worse, because more unpredictable.
Read more: The Telegraph
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.