Here are some of the big news events that Obama must have missed over the past year.
#5. America’s Ambiguous Voyage
China has made public that it wants to claim the South China Sea as part of its own sea. Beijing has been building artificial islands to bolster its claim. In response, the U.S. deployed naval ships to assert the right of freedom of navigation. Or did it? The administration really didn’t make clear what it was doing. Similarly, an American strategic bomber recently overflew one of China’s made-up islands. The Pentagon quickly asserted it was a mistake. Obama wants to send China strong signals, but he is also intent on not annoying Beijing. It is a combination that’s clearly not working.
#4. Tripped Up by the Refugee Tsunami
Over a million refugees from the Greater Middle East have flooded Europe. On top of that, Paris got slammed with one of the worst terrorist attacks since 9/11. Instead of helping calm fears over the fallout from the raging crisis in the Middle East, the White House spent more time antagonizing and demonizing critics. The administration trotted out as far from a responsible refugee policy as the president could muster. Thirty U.S. governors responded by calling for a halt on refugee resettlement in the U.S.
#3. Putin Plows into Syria
Syria has been a hell in a very small place for some time. U.S. policies, from an ineffective bombing campaign to inept efforts to arm anti-Assad insurgents, seem to have only made everything worse. The White House announced it was upping the use of Special Forces, a measure that won’t make much of a difference either. Then Putin stepped in with direct military assistance to save Assad. Basically, the administration (which had called for Assad’s ouster) — in a humiliating reversal of policy — acknowledged that the Syrian strongman can stay. ISIS and al Qaeda are as active in Syria as ever, and Russia is ramping up its influence. Refugees continue to pour out of the region. It is just a Middle East mess.
#2. Cozying up to the Castros
This summer, the United States formally reopened diplomatic relations with the Cuban dictatorship. The move was part of Obama’s charm offensive for transforming the country into a real democracy. There are already plenty of signs that the president’s strategy is more than a dismal failure. The regime is locking up opposition leaders right and left. Instead of fostering transformation, the Castro brothers are siphoning off cash from foreign dollars coming into the country.
#1 Iran Deal or No Deal?
The agreement with Iran that was supposed to solve everything has solved nothing. A recent IAEA report confirms Iran lied about not having any nuclear weapons activity. Iran foreign policy continues to export revolution and terrorism. Strains over the agreement are already starting to show. The deal may not last till the end of the president’s term.
Sadly, since the White House seems so wedded to its current policies, there is little likelihood the news from next year will be much better.