Of all the things that the least qualified president did in the last eight years, the most difficult for the incoming Trump administration to fix are the national security and foreign policy blunders.
It’s not just that he gave away all our classified secrets via Hillary’s unsecure e-mail server is a problem. And then there were the leaks of our national security secrets from people like Edward Snowden and gay private Bradley Manning. And of course the hacking of our computers by the Chinese. What else would you expect from a political party that focuses on free condoms and gay marriage?
But the worse mistakes are the foreign policy blunders – the creation of wars in other countries and the the supporting of our enemies (giving assault weapons to drug cartels, giving nuclear weapons to Iran, etc.) that are the most difficult to make right.
Consider this article from the Daily Signal.
It lists 5 crises created by the Obama administration in the last 8 years:
- ISIS in Iraq and Syria
- Afghanistan War
- Ukraine-Russia War
- Saudi Arabia-Yemen War
- Campaigns Against Terrorists in Africa
There was no “Islamic State” in Iraq or Syria when president Bush left office. Iraq and Syria, along with Egypt and Libya, were stable. Libya had just voluntarily given up their WMD programs without a shot being fired, because of concern that Bush would invade them, too. But then Obama became president and withdrew our troops from Iraq. What happened next? Genocide, rape and sex-trafficking on a scale unimaginable to naive American progressives.
1. ISIS in Iraq and Syria
In response to rapid territorial gains made by the Islamic State during the first half of 2014, the U.S. and allied countries began a military campaign against the terrorist group, relying primarily on airstrikes and support of local ground forces.
As of Nov. 2, the U.S. coalition has conducted nearly 16,000 airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, the countries where ISIS maintains its largest presence.
The Defense Department reports that as of Aug. 31, the total cost of operations related to defeating ISIS is $9.3 billion and the average daily cost is $12.3 million.
Trump inherits the military campaign against ISIS during a crucial phase, as the U.S. undertakes missions to take back key territory controlled by the militants.
[…]In Syria, the Obama administration is supporting 30,000 Syrian-Kurdish and Syrian-Arab fighters, who announced last weekend they were launching a campaign to liberate the ISIS capital in Raqqa. There are roughly 300 U.S. special operations forces on the ground in the country.
The moves to take back ISIS’ remaining strongholds showcase the extent to which Obama has prioritized the counterterrorism mission in Syria over efforts to help resolve the country’s civil war, which has resulted in as many as a half a million deaths.
On Monday, in a press conference, Obama acknowledged his Syria policy “has not worked.”
Another blunder by the Obama administration occurred with his decision to take a naive, pacifist stance with Russia. Obama and Clinton were following the liberal playbook, which states that the best way to stop a bully from being aggressive is to bow down to him and grovel. This is literally how progressives think about foreign policy – they think that weaknesses causes tyrants to back off, and that strength causes tyrants to arm up and attack their neighbors.
How well this the progressive view work with Russia?
3. Ukraine-Russia War
Europe’s only active war has resulted in the deaths of nearly 10,000 soldiers and civilians on both sides.
The conflict started in 2013, when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, under pressure from Russia, suspended talks on a trade deal with the European Union. Thousands of protesters hit the streets in the following days, supporting closer ties with the West.
The protests turned violent, and Yanukovych fled the capital, Kiev. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, and pro-Russian rebels began to seize territory in eastern Ukraine. Separatists in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk eventually declared independence.
Two cease-fire accords are not being observed. The Obama administration’s policy has been to support a German and French-led effort to negotiate a settlement to the war, and maintain pressure on Russia by working with the European Union to uphold sanctions imposed on Moscow for its annexation of Crimea. The Obama administration has also delivered Ukraine tens of millions of dollars in nonlethal aid, but has not provided weapons.
Obama isn’t providing Ukraine with weapons, because his progressive playbook says that Russia will be more likely to attack if they stand to take more losses to anti-tank weapons. That’s how people on the secular left think. They make decisions based on what makes them feel superior and what makes them look idealistic to others – not based on what works.
But there’s more. Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio championed an idealistic intervention in Libya. They thought that if we got rid of Libya’s dictator, then there would be a spontaneous uprising of peaceful Muslim democracy-lovers. So they ordered air strikes with no ground invasion, and guess what they got?
Islamic State taking root in the anarchy they created:
5. Campaigns Against Terrorists in Africa
Obama has described his efforts to destroy al-Qaeda’s core leadership as one of the successes of his national security policy. But the terrorist threat has spread to new regions in recent years, prompting a U.S. military response, and Trump will have to decide how to proceed.
Unrelated campaigns in Libya and Somalia are prime examples of the diffuse threat.
In Libya, the U.S. has conducted more than 360 airstrikes in support of pro-government forces trying to expel ISIS from the coastal Libyan city, Sirte. A small number of U.S. special operations forces are also providing on-the-ground support.
Since the 2011 American intervention in Libya that led to the death of the country’s deposed dictator leader, Muammar Gaddafi, the country has been plagued by instability.
Today, the U.S. is supporting a project to build a unity government in Libya. But the unity government has not yet won the approval of Libya’s various rival factions.
“Libya is a quintessential civil war,” Middle East expert Pollack said. “ISIS makes their home in civil wars.”
Separately, in another African nation, Somalia, the U.S. has been engaged for more than a decade in an air campaign against al-Shabab, an affiliate of al-Qaeda. The group is responsible for one of the deadliest attacks in Africa, when in 2013 it struck a mall in Nairobi, Kenya.
The terrorist group spawned in 2005, taking advantage of chaos in a country that has been split apart by civil war for 25 years.
This year, The Washington Post reports, the U.S. has conducted more than a dozen airstrikes and drone strikes against al-Shabab.
According to The New York Times, as part of a multifront war against militant Islam in Africa, American forces are also involved in helping to combat al-Qaeda in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso and Boko Haram in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad.
Although progressives like to style themselves as being “anti-war”, they actually cause a lot of wars and deaths with their misguided idealistic military interventions. Obama inherited a peaceful situation in Russia and in the Middle East, but he screwed everything up. To stop wars you must understand military issues. Just because a person says they don’t like war, it doesn’t mean that they know what actions to take to avoid war. President Trump is inheriting disasters from his incompetent predecessor.