President Barack Obama has largely failed in his promises to pull troops out of the Middle East, and many historians are likely to hold that against his presidential legacy.
The President recently took back his guarantee of taking all combat forces out of Afghanistan by the end of next year. Additionally, the United States is still in Iraq, as thousands of troops are fighting against the Islamic State in the country.
Much of Obama’s presidential campaign revolved around his promises to end wars, but the President has largely been unable to escape conflict.
Obama previously managed to get American troops out of Iraq, but the Middle East country quickly returned to disarray after they left. The President reportedly wants to avoid a similar situation in Afghanistan.
Some experts believe that Obama has realized that quickly ending wars is not as critical as defending the global system.
Former national security adviser James Jeffrey says, “Obama seems belatedly to be getting that the biggest international problem is not ‘America's wars’. ’Ending wars’ is no longer as important as defending the global system. And he is recognizing that bit by bit.”
Peacemaking has been a major goal of Obama’s presidency, but it is one that he has largely failed to achieve. America has returned to Iraq, bombed Syria, increased its drone efforts in Pakistan and Yemen and supported a military campaign led by Saudi Arabia in Yemen. The country has also failed to maintain peace between Israel and Palestine.
The result is that many historians will likely view Obama’s foreign policy legacy as a failure.
Obama has achieved some successes, such as stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and achieving diplomatic success with Cuba. But many believe that it isn’t enough.
The President did follow through on his promise to cripple Al Qaeda, and he was in office when Osama Bin Laden was killed. And while American troops are still in Afghanistan, they have largely taken a supporting role.
However, the recent attack by the United States on the MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan will undoubtedly also hurt Obama’s legacy.
It all comes down to the possibility that Obama might have some regrets when he eventually looks back on his years as President of the United States.