When Barack Obama took the heart of the nation with his election in 2008, it appeared that drastic changes would be coming to Washington. A relatively young, black man with a tremendous power to persuade, he preached peace and a different foreign policy than what had been pursued under the George W. Bush Administration.
President Obama campaigned on a foreign policy based on diplomacy, not war. He promised to remove the American military presence in the Middle East — Iraq and Afghanistan specficially. Since then, it appears that the United States is involved in more, not less conflicts across the world.
After running an inspiring campaign based on one simple message: “Hope,” the Nobel Committee decided to hand their 2009 award to the newly elected President of the most powerful nation in the world. It has been widely speculated that this decision was largely in the hopes that it would steer a sentiment of support, in America and abroad, that he would then have an increased ability to negotiate in difficult conflicts.
The committee stated their decision was due to President Obama’s dedication of nuclear proliferation and his fostering of a “new climate” in foreign affairs, specifically concerning the Arab world.
With Obama’s term as Commander in Chief virtually completed, we now can look back at the legacy he has left. Despite campaigning against war, Barack Obama has now been at war more than any other President in United States history. Not a single minute went by during his tenure in which America was not at war.
Although the number of troops involved in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have decreased, the number of American special operations forces have drastically increased. These forces are now present in 70% of the nations in the world, 138 total. This marks a 130% increase as compared to the end of the days under George W. Bush.
Based on information from the Council on Foreign Relation, the United States dropped a total of 26,171 bombs. Most of these came in the distressed regions of Syria and Iraq, but a fair number was dispersed throughout Middle Eastern nations. This comes out to an average of one bomb dropped every 20 minutes — every single day.
It will be interesting to see how — if at all — American policies change with Donald Trump taking the helm as Commander-in-Chief. In many ways, he has made a number of promises similar to Barack Obama, promises to use diplomacy to promote peace.
What do you think? Will Barack Obama be remembered as a President of peace? Let HYPELINE know what you think in the comments!
(h/t The Guardian)