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Thread: President Obama's presidency

  1. #16
    Senior Contributor Stitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doktor View Post
    . . .he is also judged for wanting good relations with Russia, when Obama's administration was the one with the reset button...
    True, but the Obama Administration wasn't so obvious in it's admiration of Putin and/or Russia, it was just trying to "normalize" the relationship (whatever that means), and attempt to tone down some of the "sabre-rattling" that was going on at the time; unfortunately, Trump's really being a fanboi about Putin, probably not the smartest move right now. Admiring Putin for his ability to successfully control the Russian empire is one thing, but practically tripping over yourself trying to compliment him is another thing, especially when it's been all but proven that Russia is guilty of "tampering" with the 2016 election.

    It's obviously too early to tell, but Trump will either go down as one of the best Presidents in history, or one of the worst; I'm hoping he'll end up being something like Reagan: a unifying presence for the country who tends to delegate the really important stuff to more qualified individuals.
    "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more." -Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge

  2. #17
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    Bit early to judge what history will make of it imv.

  3. #18
    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    Doktor,



    didn't say it was?
    "All of us, regardless of party, should be throwing ourselves into the task of rebuilding our democratic institutions. (Applause.)"

    So they are ruined, weak, incompetent now? I am far-fetching? OK, but this is what I heard.
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    To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.

  4. #19
    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    at least from my POV, I'm not judging him for what his administration has done because as you say, he's not even President yet. I do judge him for his words/actions as President-Elect and as a Presidential nominee.
    So, what are his plans? Big mouth + twitter rule? Worked for him up till elections, why stop? Shaking the very institutions with placing people who opposed (I am being mild here) their actions and work? This is another one where he got votes. Cut with the current establishment. "Grab her... " Yep, he went full retard there.

    2016 Russia is not the same as 2008 Russia. the attempt to play Medvedev off Putin obviously failed but I think was still worth playing.
    I remember the mockery when the other candidate said Russia is the enemy.

    in any case, the phrase "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice..." comes to mind. if Obama suddenly said in 2016 that he wanted to try yet another reset, I'd be dead set against that as well, let alone someone as...compromised...as Trump is on the subject.
    Let's see how this love unfolds. I am betting the relations with Russia and/or China will be worse after 4 years. Just a guess here.

    But this was about Obama's legacy, so let's get back to the regular broadcast. I would wait at least a year before judging his legacy. Over here the situation is worse after he came. From what I read, SEA is also worse, or at least with more public friction.
    No such thing as a good tax - Churchill

    To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.

  5. #20
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    doktor,

    "All of us, regardless of party, should be throwing ourselves into the task of rebuilding our democratic institutions. (Applause.)"
    here is the full context of what he said:

    Which brings me to my final point: Our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted. (Applause.) All of us, regardless of party, should be throwing ourselves into the task of rebuilding our democratic institutions. (Applause.) When voting rates in America are some of the lowest among advanced democracies, we should be making it easier, not harder, to vote. (Applause.) When trust in our institutions is low, we should reduce the corrosive influence of money in our politics, and insist on the principles of transparency and ethics in public service. (Applause.) When Congress is dysfunctional, we should draw our congressional districts to encourage politicians to cater to common sense and not rigid extremes. (Applause.)
    none of it means US democracy is "ruined, weak, incompetent". much of this is standard Democratic-leaning pablum...the equivalent, ah, of "Make America Great Again".

    But this was about Obama's legacy, so let's get back to the regular broadcast. I would wait at least a year before judging his legacy. Over here the situation is worse after he came. From what I read, SEA is also worse, or at least with more public friction.
    your right to do so, of course...but he's an -American- President. as an American, I judge Obama principally by the state of affairs in the US. and it's pretty damned hard to argue the US is in a worse situation than she was in january 2009.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  6. #21
    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    doktor,



    here is the full context of what he said:



    none of it means US democracy is "ruined, weak, incompetent". much of this is standard Democratic-leaning pablum...the equivalent, ah, of "Make America Great Again".
    In essence, what I read from the "full context" is what he didn't do in almost a decade. I like to be critical to everyone, so this is it.

    your right to do so, of course...but he's an -American- President. as an American, I judge Obama principally by the state of affairs in the US. and it's pretty damned hard to argue the US is in a worse situation than she was in january 2009.
    Well, your country is meddling in the lives of those living outside your borders, so we judge your president as well.
    No such thing as a good tax - Churchill

    To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.

  7. #22
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    Fair enough

    See the graph marked “High School dropouts”
    http://www.economist.com/news/christ...imony-some-his

    On Guantanamo, read what I wrote. It was about torture, not Guantanamo. Different subject.

    On the Paris climate-change deal, yes, whoopy do indeed. Big deal. Important stuff.

  8. #23
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    Obama's Syria legacy: Measured diplomacy, strategic explosion

    How did a man who took office espousing a new era of engagement with the world end up a spectator to this century's greatest humanitarian catastrophe?

    Barack Obama was not against using force to protect civilians. Yet he resisted, to the end, a military intervention to stem Syria's six-year civil war, even as it killed or displaced half the country's population, brutally documented in real time on social media.

    Part of the answer to this vexing question has been clear from the beginning. President Obama was elected to end America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by a people tired of paying the cost in blood and treasure. He was extremely reluctant to get sucked into another messy Middle East conflict.

    But when the siege and bombardment of cities like Aleppo placed the violence on the genocidal scale of atrocities set by Rwanda and Srebrenica, inaction by the US and its allies mocked the international community's vows of "never again".

    Despite the pressing moral imperative, Obama remained convinced a military intervention would be a costly failure.

    He believed there was no way the US could help win the war and keep the peace without a commitment of tens of thousands of troops. The battlefield was too complex: fragmented into dozens of armed groups and supported by competing regional and international powers.

    "It was going to be impossible to do this on the cheap," he said in his final press conference of 2016.

    But that was not the conclusion of some senior military and cabinet officials, nor did they even propose a mass ground deployment, according to former defence secretary Chuck Hagel.

    They argued that a more limited engagement could have effectively tilted the balance of power against President Bashar al-Assad. Among the options: arming the rebels and setting up a safe zone from where they could operate early in the conflict, or military strikes on the Syrian air force to push Assad to the negotiating table.

    Instead, the Obama administration focused on providing humanitarian aid, and on promoting a ceasefire and political negotiations aimed at Assad's departure.

    "There is no military solution" became the mantra in briefing rooms at the White House and state department, but spokespeople were unable to explain how a political solution was possible without military leverage.

    "If there is to be any hope of a political settlement, a certain military and security context is required," former CIA Director David Petraeus told a Senate committee last year. "We and our partners need to facilitate it, and…have not done so."

    Obama's caution was reinforced by lack of support for military intervention from key allies such as the UK and Germany. That influenced his decision to back away from his famous "red line" threat of force in response to Assad's use of chemical weapons.

    It was also part of a larger pessimism about what the US could achieve in the Middle East, sealed by a Nato intervention in Libya that was carefully planned but still left the country in a mess.

    "The liberal interventionists seem to have forgotten that it is no longer the 1990s," wrote two of Obama's former national security officials, Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson, in October last year. "Disastrous forays in Iraq and Libya have undermined any American willingness to put values before interests."

    Indeed, to fully understand President Obama's reticence, it is important to also understand that despite his liberal instincts and his soaring rhetoric about a more peaceful global order, he was a foreign policy realist with a keen sense of the limits to American power.

    Although he campaigned to restore US moral authority after the disaster of the Iraq War, he rejected what he saw as the moralising interventionism of the president he replaced, George W Bush.

    Instead, his emphasis was on measured diplomacy and progressive multilateralism.

    That included a willingness to engage with repressive regimes, rather than consign them to an "Axis of Evil" - giving them "the choice of an open door", he told the Nobel Peace Committee when accepting its prize at the end of his first year in office.

    Above all, he was not willing to prevent humanitarian tragedies by expending American lives and military power unless he saw a direct security threat to the United States.

    The agreement on Iran's nuclear deal is an example of this doctrine at its most effective.

    Obama ably used diplomacy to force an issue around which there was a high degree of international consensus. He marshalled broad support for crippling sanctions, and then stretched out his hand to America's most enduring Middle East foe and negotiated an achievable deal - one that limited a threat rather than transformed a relationship.

    Cuba also walked through that "open door", propelled by an economic crisis at home and drawn by a less hostile political climate in America, as did the junta in Myanmar.

    Damascus did not. And Obama decided against trying to push it through.

    US administrations have tended to bridge the gap between values and interests when the moral choice is also strategic. But Obama calculated early on that the Syrian civil war did not directly endanger America's national security.

    Instead he focused US military might against the so-called Islamic State (IS), which he did eventually see as a threat to the homeland.

    Again, he was able to organise an international coalition that has had considerable success in achieving a limited goal.

    Dividing his Syria policy in two, however, meant inevitable contradictions. The White House held that the only way to stop the spread of IS was to end the rule and brutality of the Assad regime. But America's absence from the civil conflict served to strengthen the Syrian president.

    Obama did grudgingly approve some covert military aid to moderate Syrian rebels to diffuse the power of Islamist fighters. But it wasn't enough to shape them into a force that could defeat Assad.

    So the vacuum was filled by the better-supplied Islamist groups, feeding into Assad's narrative that the world had to choose between him or terrorists.

    The presence of Islamist rebels, along with the momentum of the anti-IS campaign, also began to colour views of the regime within the administration, according to a US official who worked closely with these issues.

    "Everything was done through a counterterrorism lens," he says. "This is a bunch of people who wanted Assad to stay because they were terrified of political Islamists taking over."

    Obama argued that the regime's supporters, Russia and Iran, had more at stake in Syria than the US and would be prepared to fight harder to defend it.

    So any American intervention would only escalate the conflict. It's the same calculation he made in his approach to Ukraine.

    Russia did enter the war to reverse rebel gains in 2015, turning the tide. Its anti-aircraft weapons closed the door on even the remote chance of a US intervention. Its air force solidified Assad's grip on Syria's cities, culminating in the military victory over Aleppo and giving Moscow new leverage in the Middle East while sidelining the US.

    Many in the American foreign policy establishment believe Obama erred in defining US interests too narrowly in Syria.

    "Syria exploded in strategic ways," says Vali Nasr, who's written a book arguing that the president's policies have diminished America's leadership role in the world.

    "It empowered Russia and Iran, produced ISIS, strengthened al-Qaeda and created the refugee crisis which became a strategic threat to Europe."

    Obama's critics have also faulted him for a detached, analytical leadership style they say is unsuited to geopolitical jousting.

    "He wasn't good at brinkmanship, it wasn't his inclination," says Ian Bremmer, president of the political risk firm Eurasia Group.

    "I've always thought [George W] Bush was a leader who didn't like to think, and Obama a thinker who didn't like to lead."

    Obama has taken the lead on combating what he sees as one of the biggest threats, climate change. And he hasn't hesitated from unilaterally ordering force when he felt America's security was at stake, as shown by his prolific use of drones against terrorist suspects.

    But in Syria his administration left a perception of American weakness.

    Stepping back from his red line on chemical weapons damaged US credibility, shaking the confidence of allies and, some argue, emboldening its adversaries.

    "Some in the administration thought that the longer we continued to engage the Russians in a facade of ceasefire and political negotiations the more we were providing political cover to the regime and Russia and Iran as they continued to pursue a military victory," said the US official.

    "It's hard to understand why the state department is going along with it," a European diplomat told me as the talks became about managing that victory. "It's supporting the Russian narrative."

    Although Obama says he came to understand that very little is accomplished in international affairs without US leadership, he doesn't talk about it as a strategic asset, says Nasr

    That sets him apart from his predecessors who "believe US leadership is important for the world and important for America's hardnosed interests. Obama believes we can selectively lead where we have clear definable interests… but American leadership as a free-floating independent idea doesn't have value to him".

    Despite the personality chasm between the cerebral lawyer exiting the White House and the reality TV star entering it, Barack Obama and Donald Trump are on the same page when it comes to non-interventionism

    In that sense, Trump's "America First" foreign policy is expected to be an extension of President Obama's.

    But it would be a stripped-down version without Obama's attachment to international law and institutions or his moral commitment to universal rights, argues Max Boot, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

    And although neither would seek foreign quarrels, Trump would be more disposed to "clobber anyone who messes with" the United States.

    Would that make major powers such as China and Russia less likely to mess with America?

    Boot suggests Trump's "menacing unpredictability" could be more effective than Obama's reasonable predictability in confrontations with Beijing. The President-elect's call to Taiwan shows a penchant for brinkmanship that has certainly put China on alert.

    Against these uncertain advantages, however, stand Trump's inexperience, his intemperate nature, and his hostility to some of the building blocks of US power, such as free trade in Asia.

    Crucially, his uncritical support for Moscow, along with allegations that it has compromising information about him, have put America's Russia policy into uncharted territory.

    Some of the President-elect's key cabinet officials can be expected to try and temper his extreme impulses and outlier positions, while taking a more muscular approach than Obama.

    In confirmation hearings, Trump's choices for secretary of state and defence advocated a conventional hard power policy, that included checking Russian moves on the geopolitical chess board.

    History could very well judge Obama positively on Iran, Cuba and climate change. But the most important test of his foreign policy philosophy will be Syria, because it has been the crucible for the kind of realism he believes in.

    He argues that he's saved the US from getting trapped in another disastrous Middle East war that would sap America's power. His critics charge he has diminished US power in a crucial region, and weakened American global leadership in the process.

    The factor that shapes his legacy will be the same one that tests Trump: the extent to which either sustain, or reduce America's role in the world.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38297343

  9. #24
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    Obama 's reluctance to engage ground forces in Syria has succeeded in destabilising the EU. Merkel stupidity in allowing the 1 million refugees in has further destabilised the EU....Obama's crass remark about the UK going to the back of the que in trade deals was both incorrect and highly ignorant. His legacy in terms of health care will be undone...as it has penalised already hard pressed working families. ...it's unaffordable basically. The man has been a walking disaster. To now at the last moment take pot shots at Israel over the west bank...I find very weak for a man whose been in office for 8 years.Oh and Guantanamo is still open another promise he didn't deliver on

  10. #25
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    Let's just be thankful we were spared more of thisName:  art.clintonlavrov1.gi.jpg
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  11. #26
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    He will be remembered as an American President that had penchant of bowing to foreign leaders, speaking during the UK's National Anthem, being involved with and did his best to cover up the scandals known as Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal, Benghazi cover up/lack of action, negotiating with terrorists, the infamous red line, releasing terrorists back to the battle field, normalizing marijuana use (to the best of his ability) and listing drug dealers as non-violent offenders that should be released from prison, and stirred an anti-police atmosphere that has increased the murdering of police officers.

    And he played 306 days of golf.
    http://www.obamagolfcounter.com
    Last edited by surfgun; 15 Jan 17, at 22:28.

  12. #27
    Senior Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by surfgun View Post
    He will be remembered as an American President that had penchant of bowing to foreign leaders, speaking during the UK's National Anthem, being involved with and did his best to cover up the scandals known as Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal, Benghazi cover up/lack of action, negotiating with terrorists, the infamous red line, releasing terrorists back to the battle field, normalizing marijuana use (to the best of his ability) and listing drug dealers as non-violent offenders that should be released from prison, and stirred an anti-police atmosphere that has increased the murdering of police officers.

    And he played 306 days of golf.
    http://www.obamagolfcounter.com
    A lot of that may be true. But you've(US) had a racism problem that's never gone away. Probably never will.
    Last edited by Toby; 16 Jan 17, at 09:16.

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