Nowhere has Obama failed more massively than in foreign policy.
“Soft power” was the backbone of his approach to global affairs.
It failed to deliver any results and on January 20th, it’s about to get wiped away.
Obama was a big believer in global institutions.
He believed working with institutions like the United Nations on human rights and climate change was how he tried to wrangle foreign governments to act in America’s interests.
Obama also opened relations with authoritarian governments like Cuba and Burma, while at the same time negotiating with Iran over their nuclear program.
This was a miserable failure.
And on January 20th, Trump is promising to end Obama’s failed foreign policy by promoting a policy of “America First.”
Trump believes America has surrendered to globalism through participation in international institutions and signing on to the Paris climate agreement to combat so-called “man made” global warming.
The Washington Post reports on the culture shock about to hit Washington and other foreign capitals when Trump takes office:
“By comparison, Trump has seldom talked about such ideals, either during the campaign or since winning office. He has expressed skepticism about the international agreements negotiated by the Obama administration, saying they do not do enough to help the American people. This week, Trump tweeted that the United Nations has potential but “right now is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time.”
Trump has yet to appoint a foreign policy expert with an extensive background in development assistance or human rights. He has repeatedly questioned the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions globally in order to address climate change, while Obama made that issue a centerpiece of his foreign policy agenda.
Trump’s administration is “all about tough guys and being tough,” said Suzanne Nossel, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for international organizations under Obama. Nossel, now the executive director of PEN America, a literary free-speech group, added that “there’s a great sense of fear around the world that the U.S. is going to abandon its leadership role in the world on behalf of the vulnerable.”
Trump’s aides said his strategy is a necessary course correction to what they called Obama’s “apology tour” of trying to build bridges to rogue regimes in places such as Iran and Cuba.”
Many Obama critics believe this course correction is necessary because Obama’s reliance on “soft power” and global institutions has left America in a more dangerous place.
The Iran deal did not stop the rogue nation from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
At best, critics argued it just delayed the time until Iran acquires a weapon of mass destruction.
Trump’s response is to return to the traditional conservative model of foreign policy expressed by Ronald Reagan – peace through strength.
He contends that building up America’s military will deter threats and make intervention less likely.
Conservatives argue that Trump’s “America First” foreign policy will restore American leadership.
By relying on “soft power” and global institutions, the United States is reduced to the role of follower on the world stage.
Obama’s approach has failed America.
On January 20th, his disastrous foreign policy legacy will be wiped away.