(Obama Destruction, 2017)
As it was so eloquently phrased by author William Blum: “Mr President, in your short time in office you’ve waged war against six countries…With all due respect: what is wrong with you?” (Blum, 2013). Posed to Mr Barack Obama, who managed to increase this tally to seven shortly after: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and now Syria – if the President who could do no wrong has one superseding skill, it surely would be his evasion of criticism in the face of adversity.
Obama had a massive impact on the US economy over his 8 years in the white house, but not for the better as is often portrayed by Obama supporters. Obama’s administration increased the national debt by 68% in 8 years, and added a total of $7.917 trillion (The Balance, 2017).
One of the reasons for this debt and dangerous amount of spending was due to war, or funding of conflicts. Obama was responsible for increasing military spending every single year roughly by $800 billion, with 2013 breaking a new record with $895 billion (The Balance, 2017). A man recognised as a more peaceful president than Bush or the ones who preceded him, Obama’s drone programme killed countless civilians, an amount that “the government itself does not always know” (Ackerman, 2016), and oversaw “more strikes in his first year than Bush carried out during his entire presidency” (Purkiss and Surle, 2017). The USA also continued its presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, under Obama, albeit to a lesser extent whilst Somalia and Pakistan were targeted by drone strikes many times throughout his two spells in charge. Obama’s actions didn’t just impact upon the deterioration of the US’ economy. Nations such as Syria and Yemen will likely not recover economically from American involvement for years to come.
Obama was the President responsible for overseeing the takedown of Osama Bin Laden in 2011 and President Gaddafi of Libya in the same year. Whilst many argue the ousting of dictator Gaddafi was necessary, to help free the Libyan people from tyranny and suffering, it is more accurate to state that he merely helped rebels increase jihadist and criminal movements in the country, and in fact the people were entitled to a much better way of life before US intervention. The effect on Libya’s economy suffered enormously since Gaddafi’s removal. Clearly no lesson had been learned from Bush’s intervention in Iraq and the ensuing calamities that took place there.
The US also decided to involve themselves in Syria which cost the US $250billion and counting (Hartogs, 2016). The Syrian’s were suffering in the midst of civil war, but realistically a lot less than after intervention by America (and Russia). Syria was highly developed and a lot more progressive than the war torn nation of today. The devastation that took place in Syria not only cost them thousands of lives, they lost important healthcare protections, housing, infrastructure, business etc. The GDP of Syria has declined and damages are “estimated at $226 billion, about four times the Syrian GDP in 2010” (World Bank, 2017), as many of the citizens have either died or fled the influx of bombs penetrating them from all geopolitical directions. The ones who have fled have migrated through to Europe, with more than 1 million migrants arriving in Europe in 2015 and 2016 (Publications.europa.eu, 2017), with Germany solely spending “£20billion on refugees in 2016” alone (World Bank, 2017), and the entirety of the EU dealing with this humanitarian crisis since.
Worse perhaps than any of these interventions has to be the US’ assistance of allies Saudi Arabia in Yemen, a war Saudi would not have been able to flourish in, without US backing. Not only was this not authorised by Congress, as “the Saudis…aligned with Al Qaeda to fight the Houthis undermining our very counterterrorism operations”, (HELLMAN, 2017) the destruction of Yemen in fact strengthened Al Qaeda, (DePetris, 2017), which entirely contradicts many intentions the US government sets forth to make in regards to fighting terrorism and war. This in turn “created what three U.N. agencies call “the world’s largest humanitarian crisis” (DePetris, 2017), with the devastation caused for Yemen huge with their country now poverty stricken.
So what is the difference between a President like Gaddafi or Assad and President Obama? All are responsible for the death of civilians so why was Obama not a target for such hatred as the others were? Making history as the first black President of the United States created such a legacy and idolism for Obama that people cannot bring themselves to critique him, despite bombing seven countries in six years and tripling American debt. Obama hid behind the cloak of democracy and liberalism whilst we can argue the people in the US enjoy a less democratic way of life than arguably the Libyans did before their ‘free’ state in 2011. Is it not better to have an enemy that slaps you in the face than a friend who stabs you in the back?
Perhaps it is understandable that the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to Obama in 2009, was later regretted by the head of the committee (Bartlett, 2015). The man who instigated drone attacks on civilians, supported wars in other nations for no real reason, and caused years worth of economic damage to his own continent along with Africa, Asia and Europe – it is time to admit that Obama deserves a lot less praise than he has received to date.
Leila Lerari – M00559185
Ackerman, S. (2016). Obama claims US drones strikes have killed up to 116 civilians. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/01/obama-drones-strikes-civilian-deaths [Accessed Dec. 2017].
Bartlett, M. (2015). Nobel panel saw Obama peace prize as ‘mistake,’ new book claims. [online] The Washington Times. Available at: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/sep/16/nobel-panel-saw-obama-peace-prize-mistake-new-book/ [Accessed Dec. 2017].
Blum, W. (2013). America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy – The Truth About US Foreign Policy and Everything Else. Zed Books.
DePetris, D. (2017). The U.S. is enabling civil war and a humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Isn’t it time Congress had a say in our involvement? – LA Times. [online] latimes.com. Available at: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-depetris-yemen-war-powers-resolution-20171009-story.html [Accessed Dec. 2017].
Hartogs, J. (2016). Syria war could cost country $1.3T by 2020. [online] CNBC. Available at: https://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/08/syria-war-could-cost-country-13t-by-2020-study.html [Accessed Dec. 2017].
HELLMAN, G. (2017). House declares U.S. military role in Yemen’s civil war unauthorized. [online] POLITICO. Available at: https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/13/house-yemen-civil-war-authorization-244868 [Accessed Dec. 2017].
Obama Destruction. (2017). [image] Available at: https://www.usnews.com/cartoons/barack-obama-cartoons?slide=6 [Accessed Dec. 2017].
Publications.europa.eu. (2017). The EU and the migration crisis. [online] Available at: http://publications.europa.eu/webpub/com/factsheets/migration-crisis/en/#what-is-refugee-crisis [Accessed Dec. 2017].
Purkiss, J. and Surle, J. (2017). Obama’s covert drone war in numbers: ten times more strikes than Bush. [online] The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Available at: https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2017-01-17/obamas-covert-drone-war-in-numbers-ten-times-more-strikes-than-bush [Accessed Dec. 2017].
The Balance. (2017). How Much Did Obama Add to the Nation’s Debt?. [online] Available at: https://www.thebalance.com/national-debt-under-obama-3306293 [Accessed Dec. 2017].
The Balance. (2017). Which President Added Most to the U.S. Debt?. [online] Available at: https://www.thebalance.com/us-debt-by-president-by-dollar-and-percent-3306296 [Accessed Dec. 2017].
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