BY ADEYEMI OSHUNRINADE
He is a famously cool politician, a smooth operator who believes America can only retain its global respect and power by reshaping its war strategy and foreign policy. As a senator, President Obama was a strong critic of the Iraq war. He voted against sending American troops to Iraq and made the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country one of his top agendas on taking over at the White House. He is a leader who subscribes to the ideology and principle that America should not fight unnecessary war, a point which so far, he has made clear by setting a timetable for troops withdrawal from Afghanistan by end of 2014.
On winning the Presidential race in 2008, Obama was determined not to take the U.S. to another war unless it is highly critical and necessary to protect American interests home and abroad. Unlike George W. Bush, Obama is not a war President and he is unlikely to engage in one while in office as the U.S. President. When he took office in 2008, the U.S. economy was at the brink of collapse. He witnessed the financial and human costs two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan brought on the U.S. economy and despite the fact that he inherited a damaged economy from the previous leadership, his administration was harshly scrutinized by the GOP before receiving a bailout fund to stabilize the economy.
As a leader with no interest in engaging America in another war, his strategy of dealing with rogue states and troubled regions has been to exhaust all diplomatic avenues possible to resolve conflicts. A diplomatic strategy combined with the most advanced technology of warfare have been employed by the Obama administration, to engage America’s enemies while at the same time using backdoor and secret talks to deal with issues affecting U.S. interests in the Middle East.
The first test for his administration came during the Arab uprising. Many saw Libya as a possible Obama’s war but despite all criticisms and pressure on his leadership from the Right, to engage U.S. troops on the ground, President Obama did not cave in to GOP demand. Senator John McCain staunchly criticized his handling of the Libyan crisis before the overthrow of Gaddafi. The Senator asked for more American involvement and demanded that the U.S. take leadership beyond what the Obama administration was willing to do at the time. But rather than be deeply involved, President Obama called on NATO to assume operation that established a no-fly-zone, giving the rebel opposition enough leverage to remove the Gaddafi regime.
The war in Libya was fought by Libyans though, with the help of advanced U.S. technology such as the predator drones and fighter planes to help monitor the no-fly restrictions imposed on the regime. There was no loss of a single American soldier in Libya and no U.S. troop was deployed on the ground to fight in the Arab nation. President Obama did not want to involve the U.S. in another war and though, the situation in Libya was a war of necessity, considering the humanitarian nature of the crisis, it was decided to let NATO and the allies take an active role in ending the reign of Gaddafi.
Since the beginning of the war in Syria, the Obama administration has suffered criticism for not being actively involved and its failure so far, to impose a no-fly-zone on the Syrian regime. President Obama has responded to the Syrian crisis with caution by using all diplomatic means possible to send a message to the regime of Bashar al-Assad that its time is over. Rather than impose a no-fly-zone without the backing of both Russia and China, which could mean immediate U.S. involvement, his administration opted to support the Syrian Revolutionary Opposition Coalitions and endorsed it as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. A move expected to give the opposition recognition and global backing that would lead eventually to the end of the Assad regime.
The Syrian opposition is fighting the regime on the ground and has been able to gain more territories with weapons supplied by some Arab nations with the United State providing it with only non-lethal technology. For the first time this week, Russia a strong backer of the regime acknowledged that the regime is fast losing to the opposition though, it reiterated that its position on the Syrian crisis remains the same. Once again, the Obama strategy employed in Libya that encouraged Libyans to fight their own war, is the same approach now in place in Syria however, with one exception, the no-fly-zone employed in Libya which is currently under consideration in Syria. The President has just responded to Turkey’s demand for support to prevent attack by the Syrian regime on its land. The administration sent four Patriot Missiles Batteries with four hundred troops to help with the operation and prevent attack coming from inside Syria.
At the just concluded UN General Assembly Session in New York, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called for the U.S. to establish a “red line” on Iran which if crossed, would trigger an attack by Israel and the United States. The move was meant to curb Iran’s aspiration for nuclear arsenal and serve as deterrence to the continuation of its nuclear program. Despite pressure from the Israeli government, President Obama did not see any need for a “red line” as proposed by Israel and would not engage America in another war with the Islamic nation. U.S. intelligence did not indicate any immediate threat to Israel and rather than involve America in a war with Iran, the U.S. working through the UN engaged in fresh talks with Iran over the nuclear crisis. The Obama administration also assured Israel of the U.S. unwavering support for the strongest American ally in the region. An indication of how far the President would go to avoid unnecessary war.
Obama’s ideology and principle is to not engage America in any war during his time in office. This is not to say the President will not respond when there is a threat to the homeland however, his war strategy is to explore all means to avert a war but attack only when necessary to defend the homeland. The biggest American war at the moment is the war on terror. Counterterrorism has become America’s permanent war and the Obama administration is responding to the threat with one of the best technology invented by the Military. The American drone is killing insurgents worldwide with less involvement of U.S. troops on the ground. With the drone, his administration has improved on the legacy left by the Bush administration. More drone attacks have been carried out during his time in office than any other President and so far, it is having damaging effects on insurgents. This is Obama’s war strategy, use American technology and diplomacy to save American lives without troops on the ground and when possible, involve other nations in a war of necessity.
Dr. Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment,’ ‘Murder of Diplomacy’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ a fiction. Follow on Twitter @san0670.