President has kept cool throughout his term
By Joe Zylka
“Thanks, Obama” has been a popular and funny phrase during President Barack Obama’s first and second terms in office. Memes and pictures have surfaced all over the internet, sarcastically commemorating Obama for everything from joblessness to their morning toast being burned.
According to the polls across the political spectrum, Obama is struggling with low approval ratings in both domestic and foreign policy. The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion revealed that 61 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of foreign affairs, which is surprising.
When Obama took office in early 2009, America was in the midst of two full-scale wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and global perception of the United States bottomed out. Contrary to popular belief, Obama has done an excellent job in the foreign policy arena.
U.S. prestige in foreign countries took a nosedive during the Iraq War. According to the Pew Research Center, during the height of Iraq from 2003 to 2007, most countries had an unfavorable view of America. France and Germany’s U.S. approval rating was under 40 percent at the time, while the U.K.’s was barely 50 percent.
However, the world’s approval rating of America has been trending in the right direction since Obama has been in office. France now sports a 75 percent approval rating, the U.K.’s rating is now 66 percent and Germany’s is over 50 percent. America’s prestige has rebounded not only in Europe, but also across the globe as U.S. approval ratings in countries like South Korea, Australia and Canada have skyrocketed since 2003.
During Obama’s tenure, Osama Bin Laden was killed. While that was a big deal (and rightfully so—celebrations in New York lasted for days), most people have overlooked the fact that the U.S. has enjoyed much success in taking out dangerous terrorists under Obama, including many high-ranking Al Qaeda officials.
Over 6,700 American troops died in Iraq and Afghanistan, and another 57,000 or more were wounded. Do not forget that these wars are expected to cost American taxpayers up to 6 trillion dollars, according to a Harvard study. Despite numerous opportunities and screams from many interest groups, Obama deserves more credit for not dragging America into any more wars.
During the manhunt of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Obama could have spurred U.S. involvement in the air or on the ground, but accomplished the goal of removing Gaddafi from power without a single American life lost.
When Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad used chemical weapons on the Syrian people in 2013, Obama was pressured to use American force to teach Assad a lesson. However, he rightfully stayed away from that potential fight, and instead cooperated with the U.N. to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal.
Currently, Russia is starting to feel the effects of Obama’s economic sanctions. Instead of sending in troops, Obama hit Russia where it hurts; the wallet. Russia’s top companies lost $55 billion in stocks on March 3 alone, according to the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange (Russia’s version of the Dow Jones). The ruble, which is Russia’s dollar, has declined to its lowest level in over five years and over $160 billion in Russian enterprises assets are at risk. The trickle-down effect of Obama’s sanctions are starting to have a serious effect on the Russian economy, which will eventually force Vladimir Putin to rethink Russia’s aggressive policies in Eastern Europe.
Although Obama has received criticism for being “soft” in foreign policy, he has actually kept America’s peaceful interests in mind by not starting any useless wars. Thanks Obama for keeping America influential without pulling out the big guns.