Obama's legacy - MERVE ŞEBNEM ORUÇ

Obama's legacy

The U.S.'s presidential elections are on Tuesday. The Republicans' candidate is Donald Trump, who nobody believed would be able to go the race to the end when his candidacy was first announced. Despite the liberal democrat world repeatedly saying world peace is under great threat, it was not enough for the American voter – Trump led both the Republican polls and state elections. He used rising Islamophobia and xenophobia like leverage.

The Democrats' candidate is Hillary Clinton. She is gearing to become the U.S.'s first female president. If Clinton does become president, it seems she is going to continue current U.S. President Barack Obama's policies, but a little more hawkish than he. The changes in Clinton's promises regarding her Middle East policy since the day she started running for office is interesting. Previously, even though she said she did not share Obama's Syria policy, reminiscent of the Clinton we know from her term as secretary of state, as a result of the pressure on her with the Libya crisis and email scandal, she has currently reached the point of saying, “I am going to arm the Kurds,” in reference to the Kurdistan Workers' Party's (PKK) Syrian franchise Democratic Union Party (PYD). The health problems of Clinton, who also has Obama's open support, have left a mark on the recent period, but the American electorate might see this as a plot of strong lobbies such as the pharmaceutical lobby. However, the real matter of curiosity is whether the U.S. is going to make a woman president.

Even though the polls claim Clinton is ahead of Trump, the election outcome may be neck and neck and it might not be a landslide win for the victor. The presidential race, which is already etched in memories as the election with the worst two candidates in the running in U.S. history, is approaching the end amid FBI interrogations, claims such as harassment, rape and lowbrow accusations. As for Obama, he is living his last days in the White House.

Living thousands of kilometers away from the U.S., we have held our breaths and are waiting for the result in hope that the worst is not yet to come. It is not because we think the U.S.'s foreign policies are going to be shaped according to the new president, on the contrary, we are sure that it is the presidents that take shape in time according to the determined policy. What we are calculating is how long the new president can resist the mechanism called “superior mind.” Trump seems to promise a little more hope in terms of resisting against that mind; Clinton seems to have long become captive. In short, we are stuck between a man who promises to bomb the entire Middle East, deport Muslims from the U.S. and a woman who is the continuation of the Obama term, who receives financial support for her campaign from the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and promises to provide more arms for the PYD. As you see, the situation is bad. Even the degree of success of Obama's domestic policies is debatable, however, when we look at his most recent foreign policies in particular, as the victims of failure, comparing the dreams he promised with the wreck he is leaving behind, we can see what a great fiasco the U.S.'s first black president's term is ending in. Obama, who set off with policies against the Iraq War ended up destroying Iraq within another sectarian war and, while appearing to struggle for peace between Palestine and Israel, turned the Middle East into a hotbed of civil wars within civil wars, really turned out to be a master at “making matters worse.” Although his move to include Iran in the global market and the nuclear agreement he signed seem like success on paper, in reality it was a major support from Washington for Iran to complete the Shiite crescent. Moves to thaw the ice with arch enemies like China and Russia further escalated angers with tactics of going around the back, which they call “smart diplomacy,” and brought the world to the brink of “Cold War” a couple of times.

Meanwhile, normalization with Cuba was a strategic step against Russia, or the climate change sensitivity was the telling sign of new sanctions that would threaten developing countries. Behind the libertarian mask was a man who exploited personal rights and freedoms through substantial investments on cyber intelligence, wiretapping and cyber monitoring activities. He withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, but he forgot his agents and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) behind. Even before the Middle East was so divided, he sufficed considering the hundreds of civilians he killed in Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan as casualties of war.

Supposedly, during his term the U.S. was going to leave the Middle East and settle in the Asia Pacific with the Asia Pivot strategy. Neither happened. While turning the Middle East into a bloodbath with his Syria policies – that go two steps forward and one step back – making one think there is no other objective to them than to continue and spread the chaos, he did not resend U.S. troops here. But by declaring legitimate partners terrorist organizations like the PYD, he raised the U.S.'s bar quite high in making anomalous organizations work for its own gains.

Even though his sole success in the name of the U.S.'s gains in the fight against terrorism and specifically against Osama bin Laden was the killing of Laden, al-Qaida-affiliated organizations like Daesh and Boko Haram, which later became stronger and more dangerous than the center al-Qaida, emerged and grew during his term in office.

While Washington paved the way for new and strange friendships from extreme enmity with countries like Iran, also during Obama's term, Turkey soured ties with old friends like Saudi Arabia and even Israel. The terror spiral that has Turkey in its grip both from within and the outside also happened during his term. The Obama administration is directly involved in every problem we are experiencing today from the U.S.'s hosting FETÖ to the legitimacy it is providing the PKK and PYD through “partnership” and the environment it has created for Daesh to grow and become stronger.

In other words, the U.S.'s first black president was welcomed, yet he is not leaving very pleasantly at all. He was received with hope, but now his name is mentioned here with fury. Obama's name has become synonymous with Syria, the blood of hundreds of thousands of people and the tragedy of millions. Naturally, one cannot help but think: George W. Bush destroyed Iraq and Obama destroyed Syria. Where will the next U.S. president destroy and how?
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