As a recently retired teacher who spent much of the past thirty years teaching history to middle school students, it pains me to see our president repeating mistakes made by previous world leaders. Unfortunately, if history repeats itself, these mistakes will lead to far worse consequences than are currently being experienced. For this, Obama has earned a failing grade in History.
President Obama’s first mistake was assuring the world he had no intention of getting the United States into additional wars when he ran for office in 2008. He was honest enough to express what much of the country was feeling after eight years of George W. Bush when he said Americans do not have the stomach for more wars. While this earned him much praise from voters and helped get him elected, his statements were not interpreted in the same manner by our enemies.
Obama’s insistence not to send in troops to troubled areas has resulted in horrible consequences in Libya, Syria, and Iraq and has helped to give rise to a new level of world troubles not seen in decades. By making such public statements and sticking to them, he has made a promise that has resulted in terrorist groups, separatists groups, and world leaders with eyes toward expansion, creating such an international mess that we now finds experts debating whether or not the world is headed toward World War III.
Any time a candidate for president or a sitting president publicly pushes for non-military solutions to problems as much as Obama has done, our enemies can’t help but think we have a weak leader. While it might take more courage and strength to walk away from a fight, it also takes great strength and courage to step in and help use your power for the betterment of others.
In this way, Obama is not much different than Jimmy Carter was when he was in the White House. Carter was unable to secure the release of American hostages held in Iran because our enemy viewed him to be weak. It wasn’t until the final hours of his only term in office that the hostages were freed because our enemy clearly believed Carter’s successor, Ronald Reagan, was not a man to test. We have far too many issues at home today to turn the 2016 presidential race into a battle between Hawks and Doves and nothing else. Doesn’t Obama remember what happened in Chicago in 1968?
Obama’s second mistake has been the policy of appeasement. You would almost have to think he never studied World War II. Just as Hitler took advantage of European leaders who did not have the stomach for another war to grab more land and round up Jews into concentration camps, we now have others attempting much of the same today.
The Islamic terrorist group ISIS has been allowed to systematically march through Syria and northern Iraq, murder those who worship differently than they do, and threaten to establish a new Islamic state built around terrorism and expansion. The mindset of ISIS is such that they will continue to cleanse the Middle East of all infidels until someone is bold enough, and strong enough, to eliminate their threat. Unfortunately, there is no one left for that task but the United States and because Obama has dragged his feet, he is now left with a much better armed and organized ISIS. Obama now admits we are in for a long process which also adds up to a very expensive one.
Meanwhile, thanks also in large part to Europe’s reluctance to stand up to Vladimir Putin, we now have another Russian leader with eyes on expansion. Putin hears what Obama has to say and smells the weakness in his words while he plots the course for a new Russian empire. Do either of them remember something called the Cold War?
Complicating our “Russia problem” is now that Obama has finally ordered the bombing of ISIS strongholds and sent much needed aid to the displaced people of northern Iraq, he has opened the door for Putin to send his troops into the Ukraine. Does anyone believe Putin will sit back and do nothing? Obama’s words will now be viewed as nothing more than do as I say and not as I do by Putin and will be used to justify further Russian aggression.
It should also be noted we simply do not have the military capability to send our troops to support the Ukraine along with the people of Syria and Iraq and still be in a position to deal with others who lie in wait so they can take advantage of our military being spread too thin.
Let’s not forget we have a constantly tense situation with North Korea while China has begun to test Japan’s patience over disputed islands and airspace. We also have yet to rid ourselves of the Al Qaida problem. While they may not be near the threat they once were, do you really think they will remain this way if we have to place them on the back burner of foreign issues?
History tells us they won’t but our President seems to have failed to master this subject which is why we have people beginning to question whether or not the world is headed toward another world war. It’s one thing to want to avoid wars. However, just like on the school playground, it is usually best to stand up to a bully sooner than later.
By failing to remove problems in their early stages, Obama has allowed a number of tumors to grow into full on cancers. Unfortunately, Obama has failed to learn from his historical national health plan. If preventive well care helps keep down the cost of insurance, so should preventative intervention help avoid full-blown wars.
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.