Tags: Barack Obama | Emerging Threats | Barack Obama | Iraq | Afghanistan | ISIS | Russia

Pundits: Obama Fails to End Old Wars, Creates New Adversaries

By    |   Friday, 24 April 2015 10:17 AM

Thursday's revelations by the Obama administration that two hostages had been accidentally killed in a drone attack in Pakistan served as a stark reminder that despite his pledge to end the wars Iraq and Afghanistan, America finds itself more, not less, involved in global conflicts.

"The U.S. takes regular lethal action in at least five countries. U.S. troops are deployed in three conflict zones. And America is directly involved in a pair of Arab civil wars," writes Michael Crowley in Politico.

America's global footprint grew even larger last week when 300 U.S. troops arrived in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv to start training Ukrainian forces for the next six months.

While the administration has refused to provide arms to the Ukrainians and insists the troop dispatch is a short-term measure, some believe it represents the beginning of a larger role for American forces.

"In the longer term though, it is likely the United States will find itself playing a larger role in Ukraine, whether it wants to or not, a development that holds out the most hope for a diplomatic solution to the conflict," writes Jeffrey Mankoff of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

As the administration increases involvement in Ukraine, in March it began to decrease the drawdown in Afghanistan, which was a reversal of the policy Obama asserted in his January State of the Union address.

Standing before a Joint Session of Congress, Obama said that "for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over," noting that when he assumed office, "nearly 180,000 American troops served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, fewer than 15,000 remain."

While Obama stated in his State of the Union that "the shadow of crisis has passed," some observers see the global environment as more chaotic.

By March, the administration was re-evaluating its strategy in Afghanistan and considering effectively ending the planned drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"In 2002 and 2003 we were saying the same thing about the Taliban. We need to be watching, we need to assess them. The jury is out and we need not to repeat the mistakes of 2002-2003, when we took the Taliban as not serious, as not a threat and then they became a serious issue," Afghan human rights activist Nader Nadery told the paper.

Yet, as Thursday's announcement reflected, as his administration has broadened its engagement in global conflicts, it has become more reliant upon drones than actual boots on the ground, which has angered some on the left and the right, and has raised ethical and legal questions.

"The administration, which inherited two wars, has struggled with the dilemma of winding down military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan at the same time that threats from new adversaries have created new challenges for U.S. and international security.

"In response, the administration has relied heavily on the use of drones, which has allowed them to avoid further on-the-ground engagement, but has raised many legal, ethical and strategic questions in the United States and around the world," wrote Rachel Stohl this week in a National Interest column.

Under Obama's leadership, the administration has resisted calls to be more aggressive to combat emerging threats, from Russia to the Islamic State, but the president appears simply to be holding out hope that matters simply do not worsen.

"We're sort of seeing the world order cracking around the edges. The only thing Obama can hope is that it doesn't completely collapse while he's still president," historian Robert Kagan told Politico.

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Thursday's revelations by the Obama administration that two hostages had been accidentally killed in a drone attack in Pakistan served as a stark reminder that despite his pledge to end the wars Iraq and Afghanistan, America finds itself more, not less, involved in global conflicts.
Barack Obama, Iraq, Afghanistan, ISIS, Russia, Ukraine
594
2015-17-24
Friday, 24 April 2015 10:17 AM
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