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Le Trait d'Union Entre Les Haitiens


The Legacy of Barack Obama

obama-barack-wikipediaby Emmanuel Roy
edited by Elena Rocher

Washington DC - Barack Hussein Obama is probably the only US president whose legacy will be based on who he is as opposed to what he has accomplished. As the most powerful man in the world, people must be able to listen and believe him when he speaks. So credibility, trust, and honesty matter heavily. The healthcare debacle, so called "Obama's signature achievement," has put a serious dent in his credibility with the American people, and his foreign policy approach of appeasing old foes and longtime US enemies at the expense of traditional US friends and allies is anything but reassuring.

During the debate about ObamaCare, the President said ad naseum if you have a healthcare policy you like you will be able to keep it. On September 26th during his speech on the Affordable Care Act in Maryland, he said it would work "the same way you shop for a plane ticket on Kayak, same way you shop for a TV on Amazon." The truth turned out to be different. Not only did the website not work like Amazon's, but many people were not able to keep their policies and doctors as the President promised. After the debacle, the President called the heads of insurance companies to discover ways to solve the problem. Would it not have been more beneficial were this to have happened prior to the enactment of the health care law? Who told the President that people would be able to retain their preferred policies? These people should be fired. It is unconscionable to believe the policy wonk at the White House did not know that the President was lying when he told people that they could keep their insurance policies and doctors if they liked them.

The reasons for this are obvious. First, insurance companies decide the premiums they will charge based on the number of healthy young people who sign up for insurance. It stands to reason that many existing policies would have to be cancelled if for nothing other than the fact that the new law requires it. So how can a logical thinking well-educated policy wonk convince us otherwise? They knew that many policies would have to be cancelled, but it was politically expedient for the President to say otherwise. Second, the gigantic changes that Obama's health care law sought to impose on the American people were too complicated, too bottom heavy, and too sudden for some two thousand some-odd pages that no one actually read. However, I support the part of the law that provides health care coverage to everyone, and that forbids insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. The longer it takes the White House to fix the problems, the faster ObamaCare will wither and fail. Twenty years from now, when we speak about the Obama Presidency, we will remember the failed ObamaCare policies and the associated lies that the President told us.

Mr. Obama is known for great rhetoric, but very little for substance. Obama is excellent at giving speeches, as evidenced by his recent speech in Pretoria honoring the late Nelson Mandela, but very bad at building relationships. He does not build relationships with members of his own party, let alone with the members of the Republican Party. Often times, failure to build relationships can hamper bipartisan consensus, a must if one is to achieve anything of substance in Washington, D.C. A recent poll shows Obama's approval rating at 42 percent, but our friends and allies around the world rate him much lower with good reason; he abandoned them.


President Obama utilized a vastly different approach to post-Cold War foreign policy than either Georges W. Bush or Bill Clinton. His foreign policy approach seeks to appease old and new enemies at the expense of traditional friends and allies. For example, during his first term he sought to appease Vladimir Putin by cancelling the deal the U.S. had with Poland and the Czech Republic to build an interceptor site and radar that would provide protection of the US homeland and allies from rogue ballistic missiles without very much notice to either of them. When Vladimir Putin blocked Ukraine from forming closer economic ties with the European Union, Obama turned a blind eye. A week ago, Ukrainians took to the streets of Kiev protesting President Viktor Yanukovich's refusal to sign a bilateral trade deal with the European Union that could lead to membership. Obama has yet to say anything in support of the Ukraine for fear, it appears, of upsetting Putin.

In the Middle East, Obama demanded that Israel stop building in East Jerusalem, but nothing of the Palestinians. He supported the Muslim Brotherhood government of Morsi in Egypt until President Morsi was arrested by the military for inciting violence and riots. He called for the ouster of Syria's Assad regime and said that use of chemical weapons would be crossing a "red line." When Assad crossed that "red line," instead of taking bold, decisive action as Commander in Chief, he allowed Putin to negotiate an agreement with Assad to relinquish his chemical weapons. America's image was thereby weakened with the failure to summarily depose Assad, while Putin and Assad, Iran's strongest allies, look strong and victorious.

When China declared an expansion of its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea, covering the Senkaku Islands owned by Japan but claimed by China, Obama sent a contradictory and mixed response that made the Japanese and South Koreans very nervous. While Obama ordered B-52s to fly through the ADIZ without notifying China, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered US airlines to inform China when flying through this disputed airspace. This mixed signal is a sign of confusion and lack of leadership. Both Japan and South Korea have taken strong positions in not recognizing China's air defense expansion. When Vice President Joe Biden went to China, he expressed concern about the new air expansion and warned the Chinese about armed clashes that may result, but he failed short of demanding that China withdraw its claim.

In November, US Secretary of State John Kerry announced an agreement with Iran that concluded a previously undisclosed six-month US-Iran negotiation. This agreement called for suspension of sanctions for six months, but failed to require the destruction of centrifuges demanded in previous United Nations resolutions to which the United States was party. America's traditional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia, have made no secret of their discontentment and opposition to this agreement. They fear a nuclear Iran dominating the Middle East. This possibility is fueling the emergence of a possible Israeli-Saudi alliance against Iran, Russia, and China, which seeks to diminish US power in the Middle East and East Asia.

emmanuel-royUnder Obama, the US is abandoning friends and allies in hopes of appeasing and reducing hostility from known enemies. The foreign policy of sudden reversals, shifting alliances, and secret negotiations could very well lead us to a third world war. Obama will eventually be known as the President who lied about ObamaCare and abandoned our traditional friends and allies but, more importantly, he may simply be known for being the first and probably the only black President of the United States.

Follow Manny on Twitter: @EJRManny
Follow Ms. Rocher on Twitter: @elenarocherpr
Photo Courtoisie: Wikipedia

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