Monday, January 16, 2017

Barack Obama's Real Legacy

With Barack Obama's eight year stint in the Oval Office coming to an end and his persona (at least to those who don't really pay attention) as a "peacemaker", a recent analysis by Micah Zenko provides us with an interesting glimpse at his real foreign military approach.

Before we get into the meat of this posting, let's look at a bit of history from 2009:

Here is what the Nobel Committee had to say in October 2009 about the President who had been in office for less than ten months at that point in time:

"The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges." (my bold)

With that in mind,  let's get back to Micah Zenko's analysis.  Here is a table showing the number of U.S. bombs that were dropped in all of its current theatres of operation during 2016:

The vast majority of bombs, 24,287 in total, were dropped during the anti-Islamic State Operation Inherent Resolve in both Syria and Iraq which received 2,963 and 2,941 airstrikes respectively.  Of the 7,473 coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, the United States was responsible for 5,904 or 79 percent of the total.  Of the total of 30,743 bombs that were dropped by America's coalition partners, the United States dropped 24,287 or 79 percent of the total.  When looking at the coalition bombing statistics on a national basis, in 2016, the United States conducted 67 percent of the airstrikes in Iraq and 96 percent of the airstrikes in Syria.

Just in case you wondered, 2015 was also a bomb-dropping bonanza with a total of 23,144 bombs dropped including 22,110 in Iraq and Syria, the major beneficiaries of the Peace President's munificence as shown here:

Apparently, Obama-style Nobel Peace Prize-winning international diplomacy included materiel raining from the sky on the innocent and guilty alike.  Barack Obama has the distinction of being the only U.S. president to serve his entire eight year term in a state of war including operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria.  That is his legacy.

1 comment:

  1. The stats are interesting but where did you get the idea that Obama was regarded as a "peacemaker".

    Outside of the USA he is regarded as another just another imperial US president who does not mind killing anyone who is not US citizen (and even that seems dubious).