As an interested, but outside observer of American politics, I had great hopes for Barack Obama when he became President in 2008. Among other things, I thought he could truly heal the racial divisions that had plagued the United States for many years and improve relations with allied nations; relations that had become strained during the presidency of George W Bush because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately I was wrong, utterly wrong.
President Obama’s rule, instead of bringing racial healing to the USA, has brought even more division than existed before. Instead of better relations with allied nations, Obama brought more tension and distrust. After eight years of Barack Obama in the White House, I look at the seemingly endless progression of scandals, bad decisions and outrageous foolishness that have characterised the Obama administration and I feel nostalgic for Richard Nixon, of all people. Nixon, for all his faults, was only a little bit crooked and Nixon’s crookedness, despite causing him to leave the Presidency, only had limited and local effects. Obama’s crookedness, on the other hand, has brought destabilisation, death and destruction throughout the world.
President Obama’s era saw the US government, and a political Left emboldened by Obama, attack some of the very things that make America special and unique. We saw this emboldened Left attack one of the founding principles of the USA, the right to speak one’s opinion freely, without being physically attacked for doing so. Obama’s time in office saw America’s universities, which were once bastions of this freedom of speech, succumb to a paralysing political correctness, which hated and despised this vital freedom. The Obama regime did nothing to stop taxpayer-funded educational establishments from imposing speech codes of a sort that would not be out of place in the old Soviet Union.
When it comes to the racial divisions that have afflicted the USA because of the after-effects of slavery and the Jim Crow laws, Obama should have been the ‘full stop’ to these afflictions but he wasn’t. Instead, Obama exploited these divisions for short term political gain, even though these exacerbated divisions will have long term implications. Obama should have drawn people of different races together, but instead his administration drove a wedge between Americans of different skin colours.
America today appears to be less free and more divided than it was when George W Bush left office. It will take years to repair the damage that Obama and his allies have done to the USA.
On the international stage, Obama has been an unmitigated disaster. His administration fiddled whilst Rome, or rather Benghazi burned. Following the Benghazi attack on the US embassy that caused the deaths of Americans, Obama’s administration put the blame for this attack erroneously and dishonestly on a cheap and cheerful ‘Mohammed’ film, rather than on the Islamic terrorists who actually carried out the attack. In fact, if there was one consistent leitmotif that could characterise the Obama administration, then it would be Obama doing all that he can not to name the real cause of the Islamic terror that has erupted across the world. When it comes to the problem of Islamic terror, Obama has been shifty, evasive and ineffective. At a time when the enemy needed to be named and fought, Obama refused to name this enemy or to fight it effectively.
Staying on the subject of international relations, Obama seems to have gone out of his way to offend traditional allies. As a Briton, I was appalled to see his intervention into Britain’s Referendum on membership of the European Union. His visit to the UK to promote EU membership was utterly disgraceful, he treated British people like foolish children for not wanting to be shackled to an undemocratic and oppressive behemoth. It was this action which told me that Obama, although being US President, seemed to know nothing about American history and didn’t understand the desire for freedom from oppression. If, as happened in 1776, his own nation could declare independence from the oppressive government of King George III, then modern Britons also have the right to declare independence from the oppressive government in Brussels. His intervention into British internal political affairs, on the side of the oppressors and destroyers, turned the stomachs of many Britons, me included.
The Obama regime also attacked and demeaned Israel, America’s one true and staunch ally in the Middle East region. The Obama administration relentlessly pushed the idea that Israel should give up land for a peace for which the ‘Palestinians’ have shown no real desire. It’s disgraceful that Obama should attack a nation that is on the front line in the current world war against Jihad. The Obama government did all that they could to weaken Israel and Israel’s ability to defend itself.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, the Obama administration contributed to the disaster that was the Arab Spring, which had the effect of boosting both the support for and the power of terrorist groups such as ISIS. Obama’s mishandling of the region and his naivety regarding the Islamic world and Islamic culture, has seen countries collapse into civil war as happened with Syria or become power vacuums filled by antagonistic tribal war lords, as is the case with Libya. The Middle East was never a safe place but the decisions made by the Obama regime have made this area even more unsafe than it ever was.
Domestically the Obama regime has presided over the growth of massive government debts and an expansion of the powers of the federal state into the lives of ordinary Americans, to an extent that I cannot recall in my lifetime. Obama used the White House as a bully pulpit from which to infringe on the rights of individual states to promote and enforce policies such as gay marriage and transgender bathrooms, which should really have been the responsibility of the citizens of each of the individual states. The great beauty of the USA is that it is one nation built from a variety of different people in different states, with diverse views on a whole gamut of subjects. Obama has attacked and scarified this beauty of a system. He has done all in his power to make America look and feel more like the oppressive, sclerotic and moribund states that make up the European Union. Obama seems to have looked less towards the liberty loving Founding Fathers for guidance and more to the French system of an all powerful centralised state for inspiration.
Although I’m not an American citizen, I try to give all due respect to the office of President of the United States of America, just as I expect reciprocal respect from Americans for the office of the Monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It’s a case where the office of President itself should be respected, even though the incumbent may not be to my particular taste and because of that, when writing this article I’ve tried to find something pleasant to say about Obama. Unfortunately, try as I might I can’t think of anything positive to say about the man, apart from the fact that he made Jimmy Carter seem not quite as bad as he was. His term in office has been an unmitigated disaster. Obama has failed economically, politically, socially, culturally and he has failed on the international stage. He entered office with great fanfare and expectations but he leaves office with a record of failure and ignominy. I happen to believe that because of the problems in the past, America needed to see an effective Black President, who would show the world that America had entered a post-racial age, but Obama has not turned out to be the man to do that. I can’t think of any greater insult to Obama than to compare him to the British Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Imagine Corbyn running a country and you may get some idea of how bad Obama has been. Obama is a Leftist ideologue like Corbyn and the effects of Obama’s Leftism has been disastrous for the USA. It will take years, probably decades, to repair the damage that Obama did to the nation.
There were aspects of the policies of all the presidents in my lifetime, going back to Nixon, who I may have disliked or disagreed with, but I don’t recall ever being so eager to see a president leave office as I am about Obama doing so. Twice the American people gave Obama the benefit of the doubt and twice Obama dreadfully let down the American people.
To conclude, I don’t know what the rule of President Trump will bring but surely it cannot be worse than the disaster of the Obama regime? President Trump will not be perfect, after all what politician or person is? I doubt that he will be anything like as bad as Obama has been for the people of the USA and the citizens of other nations. I find myself welcoming the entry of President Trump into the White House, not just because of what he will do for the American people, but also for the encouragement he may give to other nations, to throw off the shackles of undemocratic technocratic internationalism and instead live in freedom, making their own choices for their own nations.
Surely in the annals of American history, Barack Obama will be looked at as one of the worst Presidents ever? Obama’s failure, on both the domestic and international stages, will probably put him on a par with Presidents James Buchanan or Franklin Pierce, who are condemned today for failing to stand up to pro-slavery secessionists, or for side-lining abolitionists and thereby precipitating the American Civil War. At the very least, Obama may well be seen as one of the worst presidents of the post-World War II period. Obama has no lasting achievement to his name. He didn’t face down an enemy and spare the world the horror of nuclear war, like Kennedy. Obama didn’t help to destroy the scourge of Communism like Reagan, or improve Civil Rights like Lyndon Baines Johnson. He didn’t even recognise the danger coming from Islamic fundamentalism and take military steps against it, like George W Bush. Obama has brought nothing of value to the office of President of the United States and he leaves office with America weaker and more divided than it was before he took office. America has seen some truly great Presidents and some mediocre and damaging ones but there is no way that Obama is one of the Greats. Mediocrity and damage is Obama’s legacy, not greatness.
I, for one, am glad that Obama is going. I hope and pray that President Trump’s administration can repair America at home and make America respected again abroad. For all Trump’s faults, I don’t see how he can do a worse job as President than Obama has done.