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article imageOp-Ed: Pres. Obama classic lame duck at home and abroad

By Larry Clifton     Feb 10, 2016 in Politics
Washington - On Wednesday, the French outgoing foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, who is expected to become head of France’s constitutional court, called the administration’s policies “ambiguous.”
Well into the final year of his presidency, Barack Obama’s popularity is sagging, according to most polls. Even European allies have taken to sharply criticizing the administration’s beleaguered foreign policy, especially as it pertains to the Middle East, as noted in a New York Times article published Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of Turkey, the secular parliamentary democracy located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, blamed the administration’s inaction for allowing the Middle East region to descend into a “bloodbath.” The Turkish leader did not mince words: “Are you on our side or the side of the terrorist P.Y.D. and P.K.K. organizations?” Mr. Erdogan said in an address to provincial officials in the Turkish capital, Ankara, referring to American support for members of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party, or P.Y.D., in their fight against the Islamic State in Syria. For their part, the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or P.K.K., has carried out a 30-year insurgency against Turkey and Mr. Obama’s support for that organization has enraged Turkish leaders.
At the same time, Russia is indiscriminately bombing rebels that the administration refers to as our allies as Washington watches from afar. Turkey, considered a veteran U.S. ally, fears that support from Russia and the United States for the P.Y.D. could create an autonomous Kurdish region in Syria that would radicalize the separatist movement of Kurdish militants in Turkey.
To many foreign leaders, Mr. Obama is an enigma, someone they cannot trust who oversees policies they see as destructive to their people. Even long time super ally Israel has nothing but criticism for the US president as his final term winds down. While the two never seem to hit it off, Mr. Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran sealed the contentiousness in a mutual vault of empty diplomacy.
Another marker of Mr. Obama's fading grip is North Korea's recent launching of ballistic missiles and its decision to resume production of weapons-grade uranium. Meanwhile last month Iran thumbed its nose at the U.S. president by capturing U.S. sailors at gunpoint, flying a drone over a U.S. aircraft carrier followed by this week's announcement that Iran would be expanding its missile program. Topping off a list of embroiled foreign policy failures searing the administration's image is the war in Syria where Russia is bombing so-called rebels that the administration is backing. With tens of thousands dead, Mr. Obama has been criticized for his early talk of drawing a red line that Syrian President Bashar Assad promptly crossed by gassing his own people.
At home, national polls show more Americans disapprove of the job Mr. Obama is doing than approve. For his part, Mr. Obama has said and shown that he intends to largely govern through use of executive orders. Republicans have responded by dismissing Mr. Obama’s 2017 budget proposals out of hand.
In another major setback for President Obama, the Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily blocked the administration’s controversial executive order aimed at combating global warming by toughening regulations on emissions from coal-fired power plants. Furthermore, the highest court is scheduled to rule on key aspects of executive orders on immigration and Mr. Obama’s signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act which is also facing withering criticism over soaring deductibles and premiums.
By refusing to deal with Republicans who will hold large majorities in both houses of Congress for the remainder of his term, Mr. Obama has set himself up as a classic lame-duck president.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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