It’s been a tough start to 2016 for President Obama. Instead of legacy building, he’s spending the year scrambling to salvage his failing foreign policy agenda. These first two months alone represent the culmination of eight years of alienating our allies and appeasing our enemies. Here are six dishonorable mentions from the past eight weeks:
To simply say that the president’s strategy in Syria is not working would be generous—there is no strategy. Meaningless red lines and empty calls for Assad to step aside have done nothing to stop the widespread violence and growing refugee crisis. A cease-fire negotiated with Russia was implemented over the weekend, but airstrikes and additional violence continued just days later.
The president’s strategy—again, if you can even call it one—to defeat ISIS is failing. A few weeks ago the administration missed a congressionally mandated deadline to submit a real plan to eliminate this terrorist organization. It seems the president, who once called ISIS the JV team, still doesn’t have a plan to take on this threat to our national security.
The president did find time to meet a deadline requiring a plan to close Guantanamo Bay. However, Congress received an incomplete proposal that included transferring terrorist detainees to American soil. As Defense Secretary Ash Carter reiterated once again this week, this is against the law. This will remain against the law.
The administration has celebrated a number of successes this year with Iran. First, President Obama thanked the regime for returning Americans sailors that it attempted to humiliate for propaganda purposes. Next, the administration secured the release of four U.S. hostages also unjustly detained in Iran—seemingly in exchange for a $1.7 billion ransom. And, following two Iranian ballistic missile launches in contravention of international law, the White House succumbed to bipartisan pressure in Congress and agreed to implement additional sanctions on the regime.
With the Middle East in shambles, it’s easy to overlook the president’s failure to stymie Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. President Obama’s tepid and waffling response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea only invited further provocation. The Minsk Agreement has proved virtually inconsequential, while the war in eastern Ukraine continues to destabilize the country’s economy.
Finally, President Obama last week declared his intent to ignore critical new laws designed to counter efforts to boycott and delegitimize Israel. The move triggered backlash from the pro-Israel community and even leaders in the president’s own party, including Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer.