This is the legacy of Barack Obama's presidency.
From the WFB:
Iran is using the billions in cash resources provided under the landmark nuclear deal to engage in an unprecedented military buildup meant to transform the Islamic Republic’s fighting force into an “offensive” juggernaut, according to a largely unreported announcement by Iranian military leaders that has sparked concern among U.S. national security insiders and sources on Capitol Hill.
Iranian officials announced late last month that Iran’s defense budget had increased by 145 percent under President Hassan Rouhani and that the military is moving forward with a massive restructuring effort aimed at making it “a forward moving force,” according to regional reports.
Iranian leaders have stated since the Iran deal was enacted that they are using the massive amounts of cash released under the agreement to fund the purchase of new military equipment and other armaments. Iran also has pursued multi-million dollar arms deals with Russia since economic sanctions were nixed as part of the deal.
Leading members of Congress and U.S. officials working on the Iran portfolio suspect that at least a portion of the Obama administration’s $1.7 billion cash payment to Iran has been used to fund and support terrorists in the Middle East.
So much for the world leadership position America once held before Obama. In eight short years he managed to give away the leadership prowess and respect this country has fought over decades to attain and maintain.
Obama has proven superlative at mendacity, ideological obdurateness, incompetence, petulance, hubris, narcissism and tone deafness, and, incoherence! By those criteria the majority might agree!
As President, Obama admitted that he really had no plan or strategy. He couldn't seem to reconcile the intelligence he is getting from the Pentagon and CIA with his thoroughly discredited, obdurate ideology.
So, Obama retreated behind doubling down on what has proven completely ineffective. Obama's idea of "containment" compared to what of most rational people is like night and day. This is the same level of containment he thinks he has achieved with Iran and their nuclear ambitions in his "agreement".
Sadly, for all of us Obama's delusion persists regardless of how many facts reality throws at it.
Obama's claim that his foremost responsibility is to protect the American People, but then to continue to double down on refugee access to the U.S. is symptomatic of this man's total disconnect from reality. Numerous individuals in the intelligence community have flatly stated in interviews that there is no effective vetting in place to handle these individuals.
But that did not seem to deter Obama. One can't help but think that Obama has a screw loose somewhere. And as far as "American values" are concerned, he effectively stopped upholding them a long time ago, especially in the area of foreign policy.
Obana's policy was simply no policy, no strategy.
Our reckless withdrawal from Iraq led directly to the growth of ISIS.
After years of cultivating ties with the tough Sunni tribes in the north, the ones who had aligned with Al Qaeda jihadists in the aftermath of Saddam's defeat, the U.S. had achieved a kind of partnership with these groups who feared the Shi'ite majority government that replaced the Sunni dictatorship. They worked with us to kill the extremists: the "awakening".
Unfortunately, when the Bush administration ended, so did this partnership; its architect, Gen. Petraeus, resigned in a personal scandal, Obama worked hard to pull the soldiers out, against the advice of the military, and the Sunni tribes were left to fend for themselves.
The Shi'ite-dominated military, amateurish but armed to the teeth with U.S. weaponry, proceeded to treat the Sunnis vengefully and brutally, and the Sunnis responded by allying once again with extremists.
And thus ISIS grabbed 25% of Iraq and became a global threat.
Happy now, Mr. Obama?
Too many people understate the disaster that is the Obama administration’s stewardship (if you can call it that) of American foreign policy, mischaracterizes its “grand strategy” as “well-intentioned, carefully crafted, and consistently pursued”, and is irrationally optimistic about the capacity to correct the current situation as to both their capabilities and ideology.
More than likely, the Obama presidency will go down as the most destructive in American history, both domestically and in matters of foreign affairs. The main problem was emblematic from the very beginning with the Obama administration’s treatment of the Honduran constitutional crisis where then President Zelaya tried to illegally implement revisions to the constitution to further the dictatorial inclinations of his ally, Hugo Chavez. The Obama State Department sided with the Chavista’s against the Honduran People and the Supreme Court.
A fundamental trademark of Obama’s system of government was to treat allies and fellow countrymen as enemies and adversaries, and enemies and adversaries as comrades. Hence his delusional and destructive outreach to the Muslim Brotherhood, negotiations with the Taliban, reset with Russia, abandonment of hard-won strategic gains in Iraq, abrogating missile defense agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic, the unprecedented display of contempt of unilaterally declaring the 1967 Armistice lines to be the starting point for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian’s regarding any future state, fecklessness in the face of hostile actions by China and North Korea, and the subrogation of American interests to the hapless and pathetic “international community” and the United Nations.
The problem was not the misapplication of good intentions, but Obama’s and the modern Democratic Party’s embrace of policies, and a general ideology that is anathema to traditional American way’s of foreign policy (and domestic governance) that has been constructed and generally practiced since George Washington’s farewell address all the way to the Monroe Doctrine, and from containment to the counter-terror policies constructed by George W. Bush.
As a result, international security without American leadership is at its most precarious as at anytime since the 1960’s, and resembles the appeasement of Hitler by the British and French in the 1930s.
Think things are looking bad now in the Middle East? Just think what would happen if Iran is allowed to develop a nuclear weapon.
Obama did not formulate any real foreign policy, reflexively doing the opposite of what George W. Bush had done, until 2010 when he formulated his goals of getting out of Iraq, out of Afghanistan, and out of all military engagement in the Middle East.
The decision was to side neither with allies nor opponents, and play the neutral pacifist game of the UN. Aggression by Iran was to be countered with economic sanctions only, and military engagement avoided, despite pledges to Israeli security.
The drift resulting from the withdrawal of American leadership was called ‘leading from behind’ about the time that the EU through NATO insisted on limited engagement in Libya, wherein Obama set even more stringent limitation on American participation and joined our trans-Atlantic partners.
Syria is a morass, a proxy war between the Shiite flavored Islamist aggression of Iran, with Russia and proxy Hezbollah in tow, and the unholy combination of the opposition, the FSA (largely defectors from the Syrian military) and the magnate attraction of Islamist jihad fighters from throughout the Sunni Muslim world for a battlefield. The opposition is supported by Turkey and the Arab Gulf, with a reluctant NATO and America in tow. This sectarian slaughter seems likely to continue until Iran and Russia are confronted, a change for both the EU and the US.
Perhaps more chance than strategy is credited in this supposition. However, in the vacuum of Western and particularly American leadership, the Arab League does appear to be making a definitive separation between the violent Islamic jihadists and the more tolerant demos.
Like any good law professor, Obama has a ready set of excuses for why something can’t be done, and none for why something should be done. He’s lost this engagement, Obama has very effectively told us that he’s washed his hands of it.
Indeed, the one common thread running through his foreign policy is the unwinding of involvement in foreign military commitments of any kind. Hence Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.
This was not to say that Obama would not engage in foreign posturing or the positioning of naval assets in a theatre. Obama did do with a will, but he did not follow through or take the next step.
As the U.S. retreated under President Obama, it opened up opportunity for Russia, China, and Iran to mold events on the margins.
When a U.S. President comes along whose first instinct, training, political orientation is to domestic policies and whose abhorrence of foreign commitments was strongly cemented during his years in the Senate, it should be no surprise that the West is facing a decline in its ability to control world events in the Middle East, in Asia, and elsewhere outside its own territories.
Bottom line, while Barack Obama occupied the Oval Office, there was a continual and inexorable retreat from effective engagement in world events.