What is Barack Obama's legacy
Outgoing US President : What is left of Barack Obama?
After eight years, the Barack Obama era is coming to an end in the United States. In his farewell speech in Chicago this Tuesday, the president wants to say goodbye to the voters. Even before the handover to Donald Trump next week, a dispute has broken out about what will endure of Obama's sometimes ambitious goals and of his successes. In the end, very different things might be remembered than the outgoing president would like.
Obama's greatest achievement was possibly his first oath of office in January 2009: The fact that America made an African-American president then for the first time is a historic milestone. The mere assumption of office was Obama's "most important legacy," said the then defeated Republican presidential candidate John McCain on NBC over the weekend. However, Obama has not been able to decisively defuse the tensions between black and white in his country. Afro-Americans are still disadvantaged in the labor market and are more frequently controlled, locked up and shot by the police than whites.
Number of uninsured at low
The heart of Obama's domestic political successes is the Obamacare health reform named after him, which is primarily intended to help the millions of uninsured ordinary people to get affordable health insurance. Today, according to government figures, thanks to Obamacare, the number of uninsured people is at an all-time low of 11.9 percent of 18 to 64-year-olds.
During the election campaign, Trump announced the abolition of Obamacare, but despite the Republican majority in parliament, that should not be easy. For one thing, there is an internal dispute among Republicans over the issue of abortion that could upset their majority. On the other hand, parts of Obamacare - such as the co-insurance of adult children with their parents - are also popular with many Trump voters.
Many observers therefore expect that at least some components of Obamacare will be retained - albeit possibly under a different name. It is open, however, how Trump wants to achieve the feat of preserving popular parts of the system without completely letting the costs get out of hand.
Defeat in economic policy
In terms of economic policy, Obama's administration led the USA out of the severe financial crisis of 2007/2008 and created more than eleven million new jobs. With newly introduced rules, the government wanted to prevent the banking crisis from happening again. At the same time, the United States committed itself to the conclusion of new free trade agreements and campaigned for the fight against climate change.
Trump and the Republicans have launched a major attack on regulations and on free trade. The Republicans in Parliament and the new President's ministerial candidates have announced that they will soon abolish many of the Obama-era regulations. The Pacific Free Trade Agreement TPP will not be ratified; Trump also wants to renegotiate the agreement for the North American Free Trade Area NAFTA between the USA, Canada and Mexico, which has been in existence for more than 20 years. Trump also doubts the existence of climate change and wants to dismantle environmental protection regulations.
Controversial in foreign policy
Obama's legacy is also controversial in foreign policy. After the term of office of George W. Bush, which brought the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to the world, Obama entered with the promise of better cooperation and more understanding. Obama, who was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize right at the start of his term in office, has a mixed record. American troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan and Iraq, but at the same time the Americans under Obama increased the use of combat drones around the world to kill terror suspects and other opponents. On Obama's orders, a US special command shot and killed the al-Qaeda chief in Ossama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011. Contrary to Obama's election promises, the Guantanamo penal camp was not closed.
According to critics, the American troop withdrawal from Iraq was accompanied by a political turn away from the Middle East, which in the end led to more instability and allowed the global opponent Russia to expand its influence. Obama's engagement against the Islamic State (IS) is criticized as half-hearted.
In the final weeks of his tenure, Obama responded with sanctions and the expulsion of suspected Russian spies to attempts by Russia to influence the 2016 US presidential election with hacker attacks and other methods. Critics accuse the outgoing president of not having done enough against foreign hacker attacks for years.
In addition, the USA must be accused of repeatedly intervening in elections and political processes in other countries for decades. For example, the US intervened in Iran and Chile when the election results there did not suit them. Obama himself is no innocence either. During his presidency, a large-scale wiretapping program by American secret services that reached as far as Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone became known.
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