Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Question for Liberals

Double question. First, how about a letter grade for Barack Obama on Iraq. Provisional, of course.

Second, does the way Obama handled Iraq and Libya make you more or less likely to trust him on other foreign  policy actions, whether it's Afghanistan or any future actions?


  1. A.

    I've trusted Obama on foriegn policy and war since he gave that Nobel Peace Prize speech. It takes someone who is anti-war to win them.

  2. I say a solid B+ on Iraq (an A on Libya, too).

    Overall I am very satisfied with Obama's FP approaches; is making me rethink my hawkish views.

  3. I was a skeptic on Libya and still remain wary on Afghanistan. I think big picture Obama wants to move us to a rules-based global order but he has to reconcile that with drone strikes and the "shadow wars" that he apparently feels are central to maintaining US security. I don't think he'll be quite able to do it, but then again consistency isn't always what it's cracked up to be.

    Even with those concerns, there's no one else I'd rather see as commander-in-chief. And if we start listing off what he's accomplished his foreign policy record is pretty impressive.

  4. B.

    I consider Gitmo to be part of foreign policy, and a colossal failure. Iraq is a pullout already from Bush; Obama could have accelerated it and didn't. Afghanistan has shown little progress. A dead OBL is a good thing. Pakistan is an unknown, in that we don't know how they're treating and thinking of it away from the camera. Libya has been OK.

    Coming after Bush, I'm tempted to give him an A on the curve. But Bush's monumental failure (not an F, a 0 for worst foreign policy of any president ever) doesn't make Obama the best.

  5. "...a rules-based global order but he has to reconcile that with drone strikes and the "shadow wars"

    Any 'rules-based global order' that works, and is interested in minimizing its cost in lives and dollars, will feature drone strikes and shadow wars -- albeit strikes launched and shadow wars fought by someone else besides the US DoD.

    R2P is going there, and soon, or it's going nowhere. The last place the inviolable and sovereign Westphalian state is considered viable is on the left.

  6. Matt Jarvis,

    Regarding Gitmo, I always thought it was a mistake to make the location of the prison at Guantanamo the main issue. The real issue was the Bush administration's ignoring the rules of the treatment of prisoners. Although Gitmo was chosen because it was outside the United States (sort of) and because Cuban rules could automatically be ignored, it would have been much easier and more to-the-point to make the application of the law the issue.

  7. I give him an A on foreign policy, a C- on his at-home PR on foreign policy.

    As far as trusting him more after Libya and Iraq? I don't know; Libya, while handled well, rested too much on leftover Unitary Executive from the Bush Admin., in both cases, decisions are outside Congressional oversight. But given the dysfunction of Congress, and Republican's position of opposing anything he does, I understand. I just don't approve, but it's distrust of Congress then Obama.

  8. Obama's grade on Iraq - D minus
    He did not do anything other than try to extend the war past the prior agreed upon end date.

    His handling of Iraq and Libya make me inclined to assume that he will pursue neo-imperialist aims in a competent technocratic way. Trust doe not enter into it.

  9. Regarding Libya, of course, it may be too early to grade it. In a sense, after eight months of fighting, we're where we were six weeks into the Iraq War, when everyone thought it was over. Libya, too, could turn into a long, bloody morass with different factions or tribes fighting for control (although we may not be in the middle of it). If it does, it won't look like such a brilliant victory. (Mind you, this is from someone who, in this case, leaned in favor of the intervention from the beginning.)

  10. B on Iraq. I would have liked a faster pace of withdrawal but at least we are finally at long last withdrawing. D on Libya. The result (so far) has been good, but I'm still unconvinced there was a compelling national interest in this country that required our interference. I'm very concerned about the precedent this set for future meddling in other unstable, unimportant countries.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Who links to my website?