The Peacemaking Presidency

The Peacemaking Presidency
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American troops left Iraq at the end of 2011, and the Iraqis have set about again to fighting among themselves. In Afghanistan, American troops, or at any rate mainline combat troops, are projected to be out by the end of 2014. (They should have left much before that, in late 2001, when Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda followers escaped into Pakistan. At least they caught up with bin Laden a decade later.)

In Syria, President Obama neatly sidestepped away from another military intervention by turning the matter over to the Congress, representatives of a people loath to get into a new war.

And now, over the past weekend, comes an interim agreement with Iran, freezing its nuclear program for six months, as the first acknowledged official contact between the United States and Iran since the hostage crisis of 1979-1980 has taken place.

The Obama Administration is on the way to becoming the peacemaking presidency, after having been handed down two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) and having been urged to start two others (Syria and Iran). The way the President handled these challenges should ease the way for Hillary Clinton in 2016, should she decide to run.

In my view, the one major mistake in President Obama's foreign policy was his decisions in favor of a double surge of U.S. troops into Afghanistan, first in early 2009 and then in late 2009. Apart from this, what I see as a string of peaceful disengagements is painted by the President's opponents and conveyed incessantly to the American public as characteristic of the man's weakness and hesitancy. The historical record will prove otherwise.

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