CON Obama’s presidency

Eight years ago, Barack Obama entered the scene with the burden of the world on his shoulders, the nation suffering from an economic meltdown.

And he delivered. According to journalist Brad Tuttle of Time Magazine, Obama has managed to reduce the national unemployment rate more significantly than Ronald Reagan did after a recession. He also brought a solid net total of 11.3 million jobs in his term (Ronald Reagan created 15.9 million jobs in comparison). Yet at the same time, he is criticized for doing nothing to stop domestic companies from moving jobs overseas.

As for social policy, Obama did not deliver on his promise to unify the country–in fact, he seems to have done the opposite. More than ever, the country is divided on social, economical, and political issues. This isn’t to say that Obama is the cause of division. However, the very fact that Obama ultimately left the office with the country more fractured than before despite his  inspiring speeches on working together, is a failure in one of his campaign’s main selling points.

And for immigration policies, Obama has drawn much criticism for deporting a record 2.5 million immigrants throughout his eight-year term, more deportations than any of his predecessors have done. In addition, contrary to Obama’s claims that felons and criminals are the only illegal immigrants being targeted, research by The Marshall Project reveals that since Obama’s announcement of new immigration policies on November 2014, about two-thirds of the 300,000 immigrants deported afterwards had no criminal conviction.

The main speck in Obama’s legacy, however, lies in his foreign policy.

Lyndon B. Johnson’s legacy was tarnished by his involvement in the Vietnam War, Jimmy Carter by his inability to deal with the Iranian capturing of 52 American hostages, and George W. Bush by his entering into two largely unsuccessful wars.

Obama recognized this. As a result,to avoid involvement in a disastrous war, he made it his priority to reduce American involvement. The Syrian Civil War, for instance, was a war that Obama chose to avoid, but by doing so completely, he let Russia take control and reinstill Assad into power after destroying the rebels in Aleppo.

Afterwards, Assad negotiated a deal to end the war, and America was noticeably left out. Indeed, Obama had broken his promise of removing Assad–even when Assad started chemical warfare, an action Obama deemed to be the crossing line.

It was this inaction that also led in part to the rise of the Islamic State. While Obama did not directly create it, the policies of his administration were slow to respond to ISIS’s initial rise, and so the problem exacerbated. Even now, with all of Obama’s energy concentrated on countering ISIS, ISIS still remains able to attack various parts of Europe and ignite acts of terrorism (though very few) on American soil.

As David Greenberg of concludes, “in correcting for Bush’s overly aggressive foreign policy, Obama went too far in avoiding confrontations, and that in that halting and hesitant approach he wound up neither strengthening his country’s influence and status nor its power to bring about its ultimate goal of a safer and more peaceful world.”