US President Barack Obama is probably the most brilliant orator amongst the leaders of the world and one of the best of all-time. He is charismatic and inspires confidence.
But he has been at the helm of affairs for more than four years now and his deeds have fallen far short of his words.
A look at some of his failures…
1. Syria: This is his worst failure. The way he has dilly-dallied over the whole issue has shown him extremely weak and decisive. But now he finds himself in a Catch-22 situation. If there is no military action against Syria, then President Bashar al-Assad will see it as a major victory.
If Assad survives after a military strike, then he will see it as a greater victory. If Assad is toppled, then the Al-Qaeda will get a foothold thanks to their influence with the Opposition. It’s a lose-lose situation for Obama.
2. Afghanistan: One of the main goals of the US campaign in Afghanistan was: Remove the Taliban. It is ironic that the US is pulling out without coming anywhere near that goal. In fact they have announced that they will hold talks with the Taliban dismaying all the non-Taliban sections of Afghan society which had laid great hopes on the US.
It’s not as if the US is leaving Afghanistan a much safer place. The situation there is as unstable as ever and may become even worse if the US pulls out.
When Obama became President, he announced a troop surge, but paradoxically the Taliban made gains. Wikileaks further pointed out to a cover up of civilian casualties. There was an increase in tension between the US, Pakistani and Afghan forces.
3. Privacy issues: When 9/11 happened, President George W Bush signed the Patriot Act and many commentators complained about privacy and issues related to personal rights. Obama was supposed to rectify that, but only took such schemes further.
The revelations of Edward Snowden have embarrassed Obama. (His finding asylum in Russia is a bigger embarrassment.) It seems there isn’t much to separate Bush and Obama. They both believe in spying on their own citizens on a grand scale.
4. Guantanamo Bay: This was a major pre-election promise and the first thing that Obama signed when he took over way back in 2009. The order said that it would shut down the detention camp within one year.
Nothing of the sort happened. It was shot down by the US Senate and today is absolutely nowhere near closure. If the Republicans blocked the move, then you couldn’t blame Obama, but the Senate shot it down by a whopping 90-6 margin showing that Obama could not even convince his own party.
The detention camp has become quite notorious for torture and a negative symbol for America.
5. Pakistan: When Obama took over, Pakistan was reeling under terror attacks and instability. Obama doubled the funds, increased the troops. After four years Pakistan looks worse off.
When the US goes, it will be stuck with the very same Pakistan-Taliban-Afghanistan problem. It has failed to push Indo-Pak peace too. Tens of thousands of Pakistanis have died and tens of billions of dollars have been lost post-9/11.
For Pakistan at least nothing has changed since Obama took over.
The future looks even worse for India.
India has been a let-down after the Bush-Manmohan bonhomie that led to the Nuclear Deal and other overtures.
6. West Asia peace: Obama was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize within weeks of taking office and he won it too, but he has absolutely nothing to show for it. It’s not just a failure in the Af-Pak arena.
There has been no forward movement in the West Asia peace process. Neither Israel nor Palestine look too fondly at Obama’s policies.
Iran and North Korea continue to be trouble spots. America exercises great control over Egypt, but they have been ineffective in bringing about order their too.
7. Gun control: Gun violence in America claims thousands of lives every year. School shootings are a tragedy. The Second Amendment of the US protects the rights of the US citizens to keep and bear arms.
The gun lobby is strong. Senators and Congressmen are unwilling to introduce far-reaching changes. Obama has been as ineffective as any other President in bringing about even a marginal change in gun laws or a gun culture.
8. Environment: The US pays scant regard to international environment treaties the biggest example being it washing its hands off the Kyoto Protocol. There hasn’t been any change after Obama took over.
Sure, he’s given a lot of assurances, but there has been not much movement on the ground.
In fact a few months back itself he gave a brilliant speech that showed his intention to combat climate change as no other US President has. His comprehensive strategy had the world cheering and gushing (as usual).
However again, we will have to wait before his fancy words translate themselves into action.