The Ambivalence of Obama’s Foreign Policy

If there is one word that characterizes President Obama’s foreign policy decisions it is: ambivalent. Ambivalent is commonly defined as having mixed or contradictory feelings towards something or someone. It is abundantly clear that Obama has his hands tied because of his willingness to conduct dozens of drone strikes on foreign targets such as Syria and Iraq, but he is immensely reluctant to send ground troops into these countries. Now, why is this? One theory could be is President Obama, during his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination, fully disclosed the idea of decreasing the amount of active troops in the Middle East. Therefore, sending ground troops into Syria and Iraq would make the American people realize Obama could not fulfill his promise. This is not a conspiracy. Ultimately, Obama’s ambivalent foreign policy stance resulted in a drastically more deteriorated Middle East. He has spent millions of dollars on drone strikes to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but where has it gotten us? Recently, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Vincent Stewart, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, declared the city of Mosul, Iraq will most likely not be liberated this year as previously estimated. Mosul is one of the biggest cities in Iraq and is a major setback for the planned destruction of ISIS by the United States government. With Iraq and Syria in disarray, there still is no concrete plan in place to stabilize the Middle East and end the bloodshed. The current plan is not working to contain the spread of ISIS and it is evident throughout the world. Case in point: Libya. Although Libya is located in Africa, the Islamic State is extremely close to establishing a stronghold in the North-African territory. As a result, the president decided to airstrike Libya. The first airstrike that was conducted in the African country, performed a couple days ago, resulted in the deaths of 43-49 ISIS affiliates (Source). With that said, I am not advocating for President Obama to send ground troops in mass to Iraq, Syria, and Libya; however, it is time the president realizes just dropping bombs will not eradicate the militant group. If the American government is going to feed the commonwealth with destroying-ISIS rhetoric, then it is time they act on it. All I am asking for from the president is to take a side. This form of ghost warfare will not solve the problem because we are not directly addressing it. The money spent, lives lost, and families separated cannot be justified anymore. What do we have to show for it?

Contributed by R.A.



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