Obama's First Term: Views From Around the World
6 months ago
People in the Middle East, Europe and Africa rate Obama's foreign-policy record
The United States was not a particularly popular country when President Obama took office. The U.S. invasion of Iraq under false pretenses--a move that many feel destabilized the Middle Eastern nation, and led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians--severely bruised America’s image abroad.
Obama was charged with repairing that reputation. He has been praised for pulling troops out of Iraq and coming up with an aggressive timetable to do the same in Afghanistan. And then, of course, he presided over the raid in Pakistan that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.
Unlike his predecessor, Obama gets rock-star treatment in most parts of the world. But not everyone praises Obama’s foreign-policy accomplishments. Yes, he’s done some good work ending wars, but critics contend that he has not been as aggressive in other areas, like creating more economic opportunities for African countries, and forcing Israel to more fully recognize the rights of Palestinians.
Loop 21 asked Lawson Akhigbe, a London-based attorney; Adeyela Bennett, a school administrator in Dubai; and Dr. Ziblim Iddi, a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and senior lecturer in political science at the University of Ghana, to give us their thoughts about Obama’s foreign policy record.
[READ MORE: OBAMA'S WARS: COMMANDER IN CHIEF'S FIRST TERM]
If I were American, I would have voted for Obama in 2008. His election, for non-white populations living in developed nations, provided confidence, courage and hope that either they or their children could be leaders in their various countries. And if I had the vote now, I would vote for him. Obama’s tasks are not completed yet.
The introduction of nuance in consideration and implementation of U.S. foreign policy was a clear contrast to the rather dumb, black-and-white George W. Bush policy. The war on terror was silly. Obama sought to redefine the war against those who attacked the U.S., and as a result of refocusing the war, Osama bin Laden is dead and his organization is no longer focused on a figurehead to provide inspiration.
The Arab spring will be remembered as an Obama-enabled movement. Obama, by not opposing it, enabled it.