By some sobering measures, the case for Obama the peacemaker is difficult to make. Analysts who track conflict, refugee populations, terrorist attacks and political upheaval say the world has only become less peaceful during Obama's tenure, a trend that began just before he took office.
Instances of terrorism have peaked, deaths in battle around the world are at a 25-year high, and the number of refugees and displaced people has reached a level not seen in sixty years, according to the 2016 Global Peace Index, a report on international stability produced by the nonpartisan think-tank the Institute for Economic and Peace. The researchers attributed the trends to the expanded warfare in the Middle East and North Africa and broad ripples across the region and in Europe.
Face it, the Europeans got exactly what they wanted: a president who agreed with them that American actions just make things worse and if we'd only stand aside, reasonable people would sort things out on their own.
But for the odd shortage of reasonable people willing to talk, what a great plan that was!
And this is funny:
Few would blame global strife on one man, even the commander of the world's most powerful military. And if anything, Obama's legacy— and his supporters would say his strength — is a steady wariness of limits of using that military without triggering unintended consequences.
So America is damned because of the unintended consequences of the Iraq War (which we won on the battlefield) under Bush, which at least eliminated a source of terrorism and aggression, created an ally where we'd once had a foe, and bled out and discredited jihadi terrorism noticeably in the Moslem world after that victory. Really, the worst unintended consequences arose from our abandonment of Iraq during the peace after we won the battles.
Yet the unintended consequences of President Obama's Libya adventure continue to ripple throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. So President Obama matched President Bush's record of wars with unintended consequences despite his wariness. Kudos.
And keep in mind that when things went bad in Iraq in 2014 after our withdrawal in 2011, President Obama intervened in Iraq War 2.0 to defend what Bush had won.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
But if you just talk a good game and give the right people leg tingles, you get a lovely award suitable for framing, that in retrospect was just a participation ribbon.