Ever since I was a kid, I felt that if there were problems at home, we elected a Democrat and if there were problems overseas, we’d elect a Republican. It just seemed that the Democrats were really good with applying resources towards the middle/lower class here and being more hands off to the world problems. Likewise, Republicans to me were seen as the party of fighting for the business owner and securing our investments overseas.
With Obama, we have a mixed legacy. You say his name, and some people are just angry with him, many don’t even know why. His biggest success or failure, depending on who you are and your personal experiences, has been Obamacare. Many feel that it has caused a lot of problems and made their costs skyrocket. While others see that 16 million or so people now have medical coverage that could never afford it before. Likewise, one thing that came from this that many people on both parties laud is the fact that insurance companies can no longer deny you based on pre-existing conditions. Unlike the factory worker of yesteryear who could work for a company for 40 years and retire with a pension, many people today are a lot more mobile with their careers, and if you have to switch jobs or are let go from a company, a previous condition could have left you with no ability to get insurance through your new company. Obamacare needs a lot of work.
That all being said, Obama has done some things to add to his legacy – which again might be polarizing to folks, but in 20, 30, 50 years from now could be how he’s remembered.
- North Korea
Today, Obama and the first family landed in Havana for a 2 day trip. It’s huge. While the cold war ended with the Soviet Union a quarter of a century ago, we have still had a cold war with Cuba. We have had the embargo in place for over 50 years, and it while some could say it never worked, others could say today may have happened because of the embargo. Being born in 1975, I had a healthy fear of the Soviet Union – but no real fear of Cuba. What I knew of them was that they jailed political dissidents, we tried to kill them and failed, they apparently make great cigars, and they drive around in a lot of cool 1950s cars. People have been fleeing Cuba to Florida forever, and there have been defectors all the time. I don’t know what that regime did to people. I know Saddam gassed 3,000 of his own people. I don’t know was Castro did. I know it wasn’t pleasant for people to float on doors for 90 miles.
That being said, they don’t pose the same threat to us that they did 55 years ago. Their rhetoric towards us have been softer, and most nations in the western hemisphere have normalized relations with them except for us. Under the Bush era, they were named as one of the 4 worst terrorist sponsor states. Not sure that is fair to lump Cuba with Iran, North Korea, and Iraq. We also are very friendly with Saudi Arabia, who can be brutal towards its citizens and still repress women’s rights back to the stone ages. Cuba doesn’t have oil, so I guess that means we shouldn’t be friends with them?
Well, their citizens apparently have been really, really, really poor for a long, long, long time. I’ve heard that doctors and engineers may have salaries around $20 per month. Our years of embargos have placed the people of Cuba in dire, dire straits. However, it’s because of that terrible condition that the leader has softened their position towards us. It’s about time we move on. Japan attacked us in Pearl Harbor and 5 years later we were rebuilding their nation for them. We dropped bombs killing 250,000 of their citizen (not soldiers) and they have been able to mend ties with us. I think by now, the U.S. was banking on the Castros being long dead. They aren’t. And the people of Cuba have suffered enough. They are no military threat to us. I feel these relations are good for both countries. Obama gets an A+ for this in my opinion.
This is sort of one of the quagmires that Obama was trying to prevent us from getting into. I give him credit for keeping us out of this militarily, but we learned a lesson when we got rid of Saddam about the vacuums that are left behind. Syria was gassing its own people, and we were on the brink of taking him out – and we sort of let Russia step in and broker some sort of stand down. Furthermore, Obama somehow wants our country to take thousands of refugees from them – when we cannot vet who these people are. ISIS is trying to infiltrate these refugees as a way to get into this country. Saudi Arabia has 100,000 air conditioned tents that are empty…and they won’t take any refugees. Why is that? Russia got involved with troops a few months ago and already pulled them out. They didn’t want any part of this. Syria is in a civil war, and Damascus has always had relatively close ties with Russia. I see Bashar Al-Assad as not the complete demon that he has been cast as by the western media, and I sure as hell don’t trust that the “moderate” opponents wouldn’t have their own brutal dictator within months. In that neck of the world, it seems violence or threat of violence is how they rule. Obama gets an F on this. He seemed to waffle and never give any clear policy towards Syria other than “no boots on the ground”.
My guess is this was Hillary Clinton’s child. Some of what I had read in a few articles hinted that this was sort of a project for Hillary Clinton to get some experience before the run for president. Everything I seen about Obama has signaled to me he had no interest in killing their ruler, as he seems to be against that sort of thing. I’m not sure if I’m saying this right, but I’d put a lot of this on Clinton. The problem was the same as with Saddam. No real plan after you kill the bastard. It’s hard to stomach, but a lot of these countries seem to be better off when they have a strong ruler to lead them. It’s possibly been that way for thousands of years. So we kill Gaddafi – then what? I have to give him a D on this because it might have been Clinton with the plan, but he’s the commander in chief.
Where to start? It seemed Bush and Putin had mutual respect for each other, and Putin even visited Bush on the ranch. I feel the Putins of the world have to have a healthy respect for someone willing to drop bombs at any time. Bombing people never seems to lead to a good long term result, but it seemed that Putin was happy with a stalemate under Bush. However, under Obama, it’s seemed Putin has sort of been clowning him. First, in Syria. Secondly, with Crimea. In the dark of night, they essentially annexed a portion of Ukraine. What was our response? We sanctioned 8 Russians. Granted, 75% of the people in Crimea identified as Russian, and Crimea was important to their interests in the Black Sea. I get it. However, Ukraine has been part of NATO since 1994. Shit could have really escalated, but I get the sense that no one feels this is something anyone wants to go to war over. I have to give a B on Ukraine because you have to know when to pick your battles, but sanctions on 8 people as a response? However, overall, the relations with Russia are getting worse and worse – I do have to say mostly this is because Putin is getting a little nuts. C for now. Let’s see how president Trump deals with Putin.
And…ISIS. He mostly got us out of these wars, and killed Bin Laden in Pakistan (grade A++ for that). One big thing to mention about this is that ISIS was borne out of the vacuum of killing Saddam and no real plan to deal with anything once we killed him. See, we get why we went into Afghanistan. However, we sort of invaded a sovereign nation that did nothing to us, killed 600,000 people, killed their leader, and left their country in shambles. ISIS is then created. I don’t want to make this political against Bush, as Hillary/Obama may have done the same thing in Libya. All of that being said, we heard ISIS is 10,000…20,000. Obama called them the “JV team”. You would think Bush might load up 100,000 strong and “take em out”. Problem is, they aren’t wearing name badges. And, we’d risk killing a lot more innocent Muslims which would then add more people hating us for a generation. Everyone keeps talking about this coalition. Well, no one seems to be doing shit about it. I would think Kerry would get his ass on a plane over to the UAE and they meet with leaders in the Muslim world and kick some ass. We could provide satellite support and intelligence. Saudis could provide jets/troops. I feel when the U.S. doesn’t lead, no one gets shit done. This doesn’t mean we need to send tanks, but can’t we send our Secretary of State to get the ball rolling? Can’t we pledge $20 billion in support? I have to give a C+ for this – he’s kept us out of another quagmire, but the absence of leadership or communication about any kind of plan to anyone seems….absent. The plus part is for Bin Laden.
I like how we are talking with them. One of the reasons I voted for Obama was he said that we need to have talks with our enemies. The previous regimes had zero relations with these regimes, and when people don’t talk, nothing can get better. Lots of talk about pre-conditions and shit. I felt it was smart to get talks underway. Trump mentioned he’d do a better deal, but who knows. I like the open channel of communication, and we’re yet to see what comes out of this “deal”. It could be terrible and we give this an F-, or the more “moderate” leader of Iran now can start to normalize relations. I have to give this a B- because I love the communication aspect with Iran, but whatever deal was done was not crystal clear to our people and it seriously pissed off Israel. This could easily be a D or D- with any hard right person or people who are seriously concerned about Israel’s security. I personally am not confident this time the Israeli rhetoric is founded..I just don’t know enough about the details, but I like us being able to communicate directly with them for HOPE of relations.
Obama is sort of not dealing with Kim Jong Un at all. Apparently, these people now have nuclear weapons. Great. Let’s do another round of sanctions. I don’t think you can possibly sanction them more. China and Russia are the only reasons we haven’t wiped them off the map, and China is getting tired of the rhetoric. My guess is one day we’re going to see how China took them out to the wood shed one afternoon and took them over. I think Obama is deferring to China, which might be a strong move in the long term. B- because he just doesn’t seem to address it to us with any form of communication that I know of.
Taking all of the above into account, I have to give him a C+ or a B-. He scores points with keeping us out of Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and mostly Iraq as well as trying to talk with Cuba and Iran. He loses a lot of points with not leading in some aspects, and not communicating well enough to the people or our allies what the strategies are (ISIS, N Korea, Iran). The waffling on Crimea and Syria almost showed paralysis, which does not come across strong to our fiercest enemies.