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MrGrimm888's avatar

"What's so funny 'bout peace, love, and understanding? "(Details )

Asked by MrGrimm888 (13499points) November 24th, 2016

Sadly. Many have pointed to Obama’s presidency as a failure.

How many conflicts /wars did he avoid?

How many lives weren’t uselessly wasted?

I know he was Mr. Drone strike, and that wasn’t popular. But think of all the lives that could have been lost if Obama hadn’t taken the steps to avoid war, in SO many situations…

What’s wrong with using diplomatic means to deal with Iran?

Why aren’t sanctions better than war?

Why is not bombing 3 countries a year viewed as weak by so many?

Why is war a solution that so many are quick to turn to?

Should Obama be seen as good, because of what he DIDN’T do?

Why can’t people understand that war doesn’t accomplish anything good?

Was Trump’s election the antithesis of peace, love,and understanding?

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9 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

Considering the circumstances, I believe history will vindicate Obama’s refusal to mount a more aggressive stance in the Middle East. The crucial point to this discussion is the fact that for 200 years, Western military involvement in the region has been so consistently disastrous, that sooner or later someone had to arrive at the obvious conclusion. To be fair, Obama was not the first President to understand the futility in allowing the United States to be suckered into the quicksand of Middle Eastern military adventurism. The first George Bush got the message. He was compelled to evict the Iraqis from Kuwait, but the extraordinary brilliance in that episode was not with the speedy achievement of the goal, but rather the lightning quick extraction of American forces in the aftermath. In fact, the withdrawal from the region was so efficiently abrupt, that Bush was out before the cesspool could react to his setting foot in it. And he pulled it off so quickly that even the howls from critics arrived too late to matter. The first Bush is another President whose esteem has improved and will continue to rise through the years. Unlike Obama, he was forced to act. Fracking changed everything. The equations determining the strategic interests of the United have shifted considerably since the days of GHW Bush. Our country may well be responsible for snatching the string that set off the unraveling of the region, but there is now little point to pouring more American lives and treasure into ceaseless ratholes. Obama gets it, and will leave office minus the specter of massed divisions and pallet loads of money going up in flames in the lands of the minarets.

josie's avatar

The premise is wrong
Obama wasn’t a failure as President. But he was not as effective as he could have been because he did not like haggling with the legislative branch. He hated being in the Senate for the same reason. Just too remote or arrogant depending on who you talk to

And sorry to break it to you but I know personally that at least as of last month the US military is fighting a war in the Middle East. It’s just doing it without a declaration from Congress.

The problem is not a lack of desire for peace and love. The problem is the oil.

Dutchess_III's avatar

“The oil.” ^^^

Zaku's avatar

How many conflicts /wars did he avoid?
– Impossible to answer, though many pushed for action in Iran.

How many lives weren’t uselessly wasted?
– Impossible to answer.

I know he was Mr. Drone strike, and that wasn’t popular. But think of all the lives that could have been lost if Obama hadn’t taken the steps to avoid war, in SO many situations…
– Um, so not going to war and not killing people in drone strikes wasn’t an option? I might be possible to answer approximately how many civilians were killed by drone strikes, and maybe how legal striking other countries via drone without a declaration of war is, except the DoD isn’t being forthcoming about the actual data on casualties, AFAIK.

What’s wrong with using diplomatic means to deal with Iran?
– Generally nothing. Only the oil/military/industrial complexes and their followers said they wanted a more aggressive and possibly violent course of action instead. But I certainly do not agree.

Why aren’t sanctions better than war?
– Generally they are. The argument I’ve heard is that some people are afraid Iran will somehow develop nuclear weapons, and/or that we need to treat Iran as effectively hostile, but I would say the real agenda behind such arguments is about wanting to dominate the Middle East for oil price stability reasons, etc. Other arguments are from people who buy into the rest of the drama about it, which I do not.

Why is not bombing 3 countries a year viewed as weak by so many?
– Because they are hawkish fucktards, or are proposing or pretending to want to inflict more violence, probably mainly just to appeal to tribal yahoo-ism from scared/angry/etc voters.

Why is war a solution that so many are quick to turn to?
– Because people are scared and confused and suffering and want someone to offer a magic simple solution that feels good.

Should Obama be seen as good, because of what he DIDN’T do?
– No that’s also primitive thinking. But as far as it goes, I would say that not attacking Iran was good. That’s just one hypothetical thing.

Why can’t people understand that war doesn’t accomplish anything good?
– Because their feelings and thoughts are organized differently. And again, they’re overwhelmed and want to be told there’s a simple solution and hope it will work. And they’ve never been in a serious war.

Was Trump’s election the antithesis of peace, love,and understanding?
– Um. Might be a little overstated, but it was aggressive and didn’t make much sense, to a degree that should disqualify someone. But since we have an even stupider voting system, where we end up having to vote FOR one candidate, not against anyone, and not for the ones we’d rather have instead of the ones we think we need to vote for to prevent the one we dislike more, and money in politics and all the other issues with how people are selected for candidacy, we continue to be screwed into government representatives that suck.

Also, people act like Obama was bad largely because he was black, or because they are afraid of Neo-Liberalism, or because they blame him for the whole government’s actions and his failures to do what he said.

Personally, I think Obama was a nice smart president who usually sounded good, but I assume for whatever reasons/pressure was required to not live up to what he said, and who was shut down on many many issues in various political ways by both parties and no doubt by behind-the-scenes corporate manipulations of all sorts. I was hugely disappointed by all the things he didn’t do and did do on important issues such as Keystone XL, TPP, and now DAPL, and many others. Juxtapose his speeches where he said he would support Native American communities, with his inaction on the disgusting DAPL situation. He’s said he may have some interesting things to say after he leaves office, which he couldn’t say in office, which I’ll be interested to read about.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Slow clap. Nice @Zaku .

I personally hate the drones.

I don’t like anything about the drone strike system, except that it keeps American troops off the “battlefield. ”

Putting 300,000 troops in any middle eastern country would be another uninvited quagmire.

Keystone pipeline, DAPL, TPP.

Ha….

I’ve said it forever,” the guys and gals that make it all the way to president are usually corrupt scum.”

So, it didn’t surprise me that these issues were largely circumvented during the debates .

Obama wasn’t perfect. But even if he did kill thousands by a controversial drone policy, he didn’t get us in all out war. Which he could have done many times.

His restraint shouldbe viewed as a strength, not a weakness.

He was hamstrung in most issues by our lovely congress. Instead of checking, and balancing, they dragged their feet the whole way.

It’s hard for me not to see more people holding congress responsible for their role in Obama’s presidency.

These obstructionists were largely reelected.

I hope they have fun trying to deal with Trump.

Zaku's avatar

I personally hate the drones.

- I do too.

I don’t like anything about the drone strike system, except that it keeps American troops off the “battlefield. ”

Putting 300,000 troops in any middle eastern country would be another uninvited quagmire.

- It seems to me that, while I agree with the sentiments, I think they make enormous assumptions and reduce situation into the idea that there were two options: kill people with drones, or invade countries. I think that’s only a fragmentary perspective, so it doesn’t represent my feelings about the use of drones. Both actions were wrong and yes drones are less destructive and terrible but I don’t frame those two negative options as a one-or-the-other issue nor one I associate with Obama except to think that yes maybe with a theoretical more hawkish president we might have gotten into even more warfare, so ok that’s good but it’s not really how I relate to the whole thing.

Keystone pipeline, DAPL, TPP.

Ha….

I’ve said it forever,” the guys and gals that make it all the way to president are usually corrupt scum.”

- Generally usually yes. I don’t think I know what the actual details of the story are in each case, though. In Obama’s case, I think he’s clearly intelligent and acts very convincingly like he means to be representing something I’d usually mostly agree with in most ways during speeches, but then he’s silent or doesn’t act in many cases I think are very important (e,g, Keystone XL, various evil pro-corporate bills, not standing up to or calling out Republican antics enough), or things he himself as promised to support the other side on (e.g. DAPL), or actively supports things I think are atrocious (e.g. TPP/TPIP) etc to the degree that he’s like a pro-establishment agent who frequently shifts back to a more human agenda and occasionally does some good things. But I don’t know what’s behind that – is he actually wicked, or are we (as I expect) just seeing the public face of all sorts of manipulations he can’t make public (i.e. he’s chosen to do what he’s done because he’s been presented with that as what he sees as his best options given the no doubt many apparent consequences of doing otherwise – the established string-pullers surely have it down to a science how to control a president and have ways that are as effective as any crude overt manipulations we might care to imagine).

So, it didn’t surprise me that these issues were largely circumvented during the debates .

- Me neither. The media running the debates and news coverage is a corporate tool.

Obama wasn’t perfect. But even if he did kill thousands by a controversial drone policy, he didn’t get us in all out war. Which he could have done many times.

His restraint shouldbe viewed as a strength, not a weakness.

- Again, yeah sure. People casting him as weak for not being more warlike are fearful or hawks at best and Cro Magnon at worst.

But I don’t see why/how that level of conversation about it could be thought accurate or worthwhile.

He was hamstrung in most issues by our lovely congress. Instead of checking, and balancing, they dragged their feet the whole way.

- Yes, and I think there were surely other levels of influence we don’t know about, so that it wasn’t really up to him… unless he were to somehow stand up in a way he didn’t to whatever those were.

It’s hard for me not to see more people holding congress responsible for their role in Obama’s presidency.

- Yes, it’s preposterous. Popular and media discourse on politics tends to act like the POTUS is responsible for what the USA does to a level that greatly exaggerates his influence and freedom of choice. And Congress undermined Obama relentlessly.

These obstructionists were largely reelected.

- Ya it’s horrible.

I hope they have fun trying to deal with Trump.

- Here’s hoping for good results in the end…

MrGrimm888's avatar

@Zaku . Yes , drones or troops is oversimplifying it. But diplomacy doesn’t get much done in the middle east.

I think Obama would have preferred not to be involved in any armed conflict, but the middle east has been, and was a mess when Obama took office.

With diplomacy off the table, his advisors didn’t give him many options. I believe that, in his mind, drone strikes were the lesser of two evils.

Putting lots of young men, that don’t even speak the language of an occupied country, with advanced weapons , and no understanding of the culture there would have been far worse. At least for the civilian population of the region.

George W. Bush thought the US would be greated as liberators in Iraq. Much the way we were in places like France, after WWII.

This was obviously NOT the case. It points out a sad lack of understanding of the people in that region on our part. They are COMPLETELY different from westerners. Their many different religions, languages, laws, nomadic tribes, and views on each other’s civil rights make diplomacy VERY difficult. Not to mention that many powers in the region hate each other,and constantly work to undermine one another. Surely the CIA, and other country’s intelligence agencies have stirred the shit as well.

Obama was under great pressure from all sides to DO SOMETHING about the region.
He stiff armed many warmongers, and made plenty of enemies in his own government in the process. His pulling of troops from Iraq may have made the US look mettlesome, and irresponsible (which it is,) but it was a sort of admission that we were in over our head, and clearly NOT wanted there.

Short of going back in time and not going into Iraq the 2nd time, I don’t know how better Obama could have played the hand he was dealt….

The US was trying, initially anyway, to have governments in Yemen, and Afghanistan to bring terrorists under control. But government corruption, fear, and sometimes cohesiveness with the terrorists, or ineffectiveness of their own intelligence agencies didn’t work. The US was out for blood after 9/11. They ran out of patience quickly, and just started hitting ‘targets’ in these nation’s boarders.

I think drone strikes are acts of war,and overused. But I think the initial thought process was that it would eventually be such a deterrent, that terrorists would give up. Clearly, the commitment of these organizations, and indeed the toll drone strikes themselves had were underestimated. Drone strikes have probably driven more people into organizations like ISIS , than many other factors.

Simply put. We (the US) fucked up. The region is more unstable now, thousands are dead (many more if you take Syria into account,) Europe is being flooded with refugees, and even Russian and US ties are stretched dangerously thin.

I’m sure it doesn’t matter, but I’m sorry world…

Zaku's avatar

@MrGrimm888 It would be nice if that were the sort of history that corresponded well to what actually causes things to happen, but I think the truth is more complex and opaque and corrupt. The corporate news media and the corporate establishment politicians would like us to think that is the sort of way the world works, but I think that what really drives policies and actions is not really about individual presidents or even nations. I think what really drives what happens is about various communities (both actual civilian communities, and groups like politicians, corporate leaders, and investors) and their mindsets and conversations, and details of economics and politics. Obama and Bush are just people who serve as icons and who are thought of as decision-makers but are more like symbolic figureheads who provide that drama largely as a distraction preventing visibility into what really causes things to happen. The invasion and occupation of Iraq by the US military is more driven by the oil industry wanting to be able to reliably predict oil prices, and other strategic considerations which take many industries and other situations into account, and I’d say the strings are more pulled by people whose names may likely never be mentioned at all in the corporate news media, and by the strong effects of established mindsets and conversational trends in all the many huge networks of people who end up making or influencing policy at all levels, from politicians to merchants to diplomats to corporate and media people and insurgents and the CIA and on and on and on. I think you’re right that Obama had almost no real personal choice, because all of those sorts of influences act like ocean currents where there will appear to him and be presented to him few if any options for meaningful deviation.

MrGrimm888's avatar

It’s definitely all run by The Man.

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