Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How History Will Remember Obama (Hint: Not Well)

William Pfaff 
Common Dreams
Action begets reaction in foreign policy as in physics, and action unconsidered for its possible consequences has been responsible for many results for which statesmen (or their unqualified counterparts) are eventually sorry, as are multitudes (as it may be) who pay the price. That, sententious as it may be, is my holiday message to Barack Obama. I continue:
(Photo: Juli Hansen /

In 2012, at the start of his second term, President Barack Obama called the Pentagon to assure its leaders that the American nation would remain the “greatest force for freedom and security that the world has ever known.” The war in Afghanistan was, at that time, continuing, and the disorders and sectarian attacks had begun, which have continued in Iraq ever since the United States had declared that war over in 2011—after 8 years, 8 months, 3 weeks and 4 days.

Mr. Obama endorsed his and his predecessor’s (George W. Bush) achievements, which he enumerated as (I paraphrase): strengthened alliances, new partnerships forged, defense of universal rights and human dignity, defense of the nation, the fight taken to America’s enemies, the number of Americans in harm’s way reduced and America’s global leadership restored. Seconded by (then) Defense Secretary Robert Gates, he promised a larger military budget and, instead of a downsized force, a more capable one. He said that after the Second World War and Vietnam, American forces had been left ill-prepared for the future, but that would not happen “on his watch.”