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Obama’s Foreign Policy Is a Failure

The BriefGet Up To Speed

For many, Obama’s presidency will be defined by its accomplishments.  Taking out Osama bin Laden, disengaging from fights in the Middle East that America cannot win, defusing the threat of a nuclear Iran, and refocusing our attention and resources to Asia, where our greatest opportunities and biggest long-term challenges are located.  But for others, it has been marked by missteps and retreat—pulling back where action and leadership was needed, and presiding over policies that strengthened our adversaries and disheartened our friends.   Has Obama’s foreign policy been a success?  


The U.S. president talks through his hardest decisions about America’s role in the world.

Friday, April 1, 2016
Jeffrey Goldberg

In an exclusive interview with Thomas L. Friedman, the president explains why he has no second thoughts about the accord with Iran.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Thomas Friedman

The White House foreign policy issues page.


The Philippine pivot to China is just the latest consequence of Obama’s feckless foreign policy.

Thursday, October 20, 2016
Walter Russell Mead

The world has already entered an era in which global disorders, spurred by American retreat, are proliferating at rates that are increasingly hard to contain.

Sunday, October 30, 2016
Bret Stephens

Power corrupts in subtle ways. It appears to have made Obama arrogant.

Sunday, March 13, 2016
Niall Ferguson

An American president who rejected the notion of a “global war on terror” has now launched one.

Saturday, March 12, 2016
Tamara Cofman Wittes

Power corrupts in subtle ways. It appears to have made Obama arrogant.

Sunday, March 13, 2016
Niall Ferguson

Edelman discusses the ways in which Obama’s foreign policy has harmed U.S. interests.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Douglas Blackmon interviews Eric Edelman

Like George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Obama will likely pass on to his successor an overall foreign policy agenda and national power position in better shape than when he entered office, ones that the next administration can build on to improve things further.

Friday, September 30, 2016
Gideon Rose

Though the United States clearly has a central role and responsibility in the region, we shouldn’t exaggerate the extent to which it can shape the region’s destiny.

Monday, August 15, 2016
Aaron David Miller interviews Robert Malley

He’s accomplished almost everything he set out to do.

Friday, April 22, 2016
Shane Mason

Both his critics and his defenders tend to use unrealistic benchmarks in grading his presidency.

Sunday, May 1, 2016
Michael O’Hanlon

There isn't much written or said in defense of President Obama's foreign policy, especially for the liberal base that voted for him expecting a rapid exit from seemingly endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Friday, February 27, 2015
David Russell
Mixed Results

Daniel W. Drezner, Michael Mandelbaum, and David Milne join Amy S. Davidson to discuss the foreign policy initiatives of the Obama administration, its successes and failures, and the issues that will become President Obama's lasting legacy.

Friday, September 9, 2016
Panel Discussion

This is not the worst Asia legacy or the best in recent history.

Saturday, September 3, 2016
Mike Green

The gridlocked TPP trade deal. Reclaimed islands in the South China Sea. North Korean nukes. How will history judge President Obama’s rebalance to Asia

Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Victor Cha

Obama has stayed true to the template of his Nobel address, keeping sight of the big picture as others have gotten lost in the shrubs. His caution about embarking on unnecessary military adventures and desire to avoid escalatory military spirals seem wise.

Saturday, January 30, 2016
Fred Kaplan

Despite some successful initiatives the Obama administration left unresolved many of the crucial foreign policy issues of our times.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Klaus Larres

Ten leading politicians, thinkers and commentators weigh in on Obama’s rocky 8-year relationship with the Old Continent.

Thursday, April 21, 2016