Historians may one day view this as a time when President Obama fulfilled his 2008 promise of ‘changing the mind-set’ in U.S. foreign policy and moving beyond the U.S. national security strategy of the decade that followed 9/11.
Brian Katulis, The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 5, 2015

hile the impending deal with Iran has effectively dominated news sources both in the US and abroad in recent months, the foreign policy legacy of President Barack Obama extends far beyond Tehran. Part of what makes Obama’s Iran deal so interesting is that the President has promised he will do everything in his power to see this deal realized. What that means is that this aspect of Obama’s doctrine will be carried over into the hands of the new President in 2017, and the deal is not alone in this sense. While well known that the US foreign policy approach changes with every new president, there is also always some inescapable remnants of the predecessor, and this will hold especially true in 2017.

Positively, this means the start of deals and diplomatic relations in Iran, Cuba, Myanmar, and more. However, Obama’s desire to avoid “dumb wars,” in large part due to lines he himself inherited from Bush in 2008, has led to inaction in war-torn Syria, and an uneasy standoff with the Islamic State and other extremist groups, in addition to challenges from Russia in Ukraine, China in the South China Sea, and across the cyber realm. Republican, Democrat, or otherwise, the President in 2017 will find themselves set upon a foreign policy course that will prove difficult to alter, for better or for worse.

Get in deeper:

Obama on the goal of his foreign policy || Vox

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Fortunately, US President Barack Obama has not missed the opportunities that were presented to him. Indeed, the recent agreement with Iran, coming after diplomatic breakthroughs with Myanmar and Cuba, should make those who speak of an America in decline think again.Yoon Young-Kwan, Project Syndicate, Aug. 4, 2015

The US – a staunch proponent of non-proliferation, whose official policy was that Assad had to go – did not want a conflict with Assad. Obama was too risk-averse to enforce his own red line.Omer Aziz, Al Jazeera, Aug. 22, 2015

‘You take the victories where you can. You make things a little bit better rather than a little bit worse,’ Obama told Vox executive editor Matt Yglesias. ‘And that’s in no way a concession to this idea that America is withdrawing or there’s not much we can do. It’s just a realistic assessment of how the world works.’ Elias Groll, Foreign Policy, Feb. 9, 2015
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