If and when the agreement between Iran and the five powers, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, France and Germany is finalized it will be one more success story in a remarkably successful Presidency in the arena of foreign policy for President Barack Obama.
An agreement with Iran would be President Obama’s signature achievement in foreign affairs. Few thought anything would be accomplished. Our two countries were not even talking to one another. Our relationship with Iran has been difficult at best due primarily to the British secret service and the CIA’s covert operation in 1953 to remove the democratically elected Prime Minister Mossadegh from office.
But now there a very real possibility that Iran will agree to not develop nuclear weapons. It would be shameful if the knee jerk reactions of the extreme partisanship of the Republican Party scuttles the agreement. Peace would be the victim and the forces of war would triumph if outside extremists from both Iran and the United States are victorious in their efforts to poison the well of peace.
President Obama has put his individual stamp on our relationship with other countries. He is not the first president to do so. Some are beginning to call his policy towards other nations the Obama Doctrine.
Other Presidents since Teddy Roosevelt have left their imprint. Prior to President Theodore Roosevelt the United States pretty much stayed out of the foreign affairs game unless it offered a benefit to the United States commercially.
Teddy Roosevelt had the speak softly and carry a big stick policy. A policy from which Roosevelt knew that we would never be loved but respect is what he sought. He was the first President to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
President Woodrow Wilson left a huge imprint and influence on the world with his efforts to bring forth a League of Nations. His efforts at collective security were intended to prevent a future world war.
After reverting to our traditional isolationism the United States became out of necessity a world power after World War II. First with Franklin Roosevelt and then with Harry Truman, collective security was strengthened. With the support of our allies the United Nations came into being. NATO in particular was a source of strength. Real collective security was the result. The fear of mutually assured destruction along with our containment policy helped to keep the world at peace and helped to prevent another world war.
After World War II our efforts in the world of foreign affairs concentrated on our battles with communism and the Soviet Union and has been dominated with what has become the security state.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has struggled to find a proper role on the world stage, and in point of fact has lost an opportunity by failing to have a plan to bring greater peace to the world. We became after Russia’s collapse the only remaining super power. It has been a curse and a blessing.
We have witnessed under President George Bush the use of a doctrine of preemption and fear to attempt to nation build by physically changing regimes we did not like. This policy failed miserably and has brought with it a reluctance to get involved in other countries affairs.
War must not be the first choice of action. President Obama has brought back the tried and true, old fashioned belief, that diplomacy is the first course of action in attempting to improve the problems that we all face each day in the world.
Now with the Presidency of Barrack Obama he has taken on a new course, a course based on mutual respect of other countries. He has attempted to find common ground with other nations but what is unique is his willingness to talk to each of our adversaries and to talk with countries that we should have better relations with.
His immediate task upon his election was to end our combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. His administration immediately set about to accomplish that goal. In a first step he set about to reduce the power and influence of the terrorist group Al Qaeda. President Obama and our military and CIA were successful in hunting down Bin Laden and other terrorists from that criminal enterprise Al Qaeda.
His administration has been successful in scaling back our military combat operations in both countries, Iraq and Afghanistan.
What has been tragic is that the political problems set forth by the new leadership of Iraq. The former Prime Minister of Iraq, started in motion discriminatory policies which exasperated the sectarian and tribal differences in Iraq. The outcome of his flawed policies is ISIS.
Of course by attempting to nation build in Iraq and by removing Hussein the policies of President Cheney, oops, sorry, I mean President George Bush broke the china and has helped to make Iraq dysfunctional as a nation.
But regardless the United States and its allies around the world are working to deal with the scourge that is ISIS.
Extreme partisanship in America has colored the view of how the American people see the current President, President Obama. The not so loyal opposition to whatever President Obama does is darn right amazing. In seeking to diminish his accomplishments, Republicans try to blame him for everything. Sorry, but the Middle East was a mess before President Obama came into office. The hate, the tribal nature of the region and the religious differences among the Muslim faithful was already set in stone before President Obama took office. No one could have foreseen President Putin’s actions nor could anyone could have prevented his aggression towards his neighbors.
But the facts are these, besides moving towards our ending of our combat involvement in two wars; President Obama has done the following:
Improvements in our relations with the largest Democracy in the world, India is ongoing. We have witnessed an agreement between China and the United States on how to deal with the problem of climate change. A nuclear agreement with Russia took place early on. After years of inaction regarding our lack of any relationship with Cuba, a new day is dawning where a new relationship is being formed. Better days are ahead, especially when the Castro brothers are no longer on the scene. And now we are on the precipice of a new era with our relations with Iran. Most of the elements of what a previous president termed the evil empire of bad actors in the world is witnessing a sea change of relationships.
It will take time, the time of history to more accurately determine where in the pantheon of world leaders the Presidency of Barack Obama will hold it’s place. There has been too much partisan anger and bitterness to form an objective opinion, now. But the facts should not dissuade historians from the view that the Obama Presidency has had many accomplishments. President Obama is in the process of proving that if we are only willing to talk to anyone, anything is possible, even peace.