Obama’s Problematic Legacy Revealed In New Book

Al-Watan, Qatar, June 4

On the night of November 8, 2016, as it became clear that Donald Trump would be the next American president, Ben Rhodes sat alone in his office and could not believe what he was witnessing. Rhodes, one of then-U.S. leader Barack Obama’s closest confidants, had no way of explaining what was happening. Like many of his Democratic counterparts in the White House and among the public at large he was stunned. And it took him weeks to overcome this shock. In a new book set to be released next week, Rhodes finally divulges some of the stories about the days that followed the elections. He reveals, for example, that Obama was personally outraged that the American public reacted to his policies by electing a clown-like figure who questioned the very legitimacy of his presidency. In one instance, Rhodes recollects Obama’s final meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in which the latter supposedly “shed a tear.” Obama later told Rhodes that she was concerned about being the last-standing Western leader who defends the values of freedom and democracy. While these stories are captivating and provide a fascinating look into the former administration’s reaction to Trump’s election, one cannot help but come to the realization that Barack Obama was living under an illusion. Obama sought to reform American society, but has endured a massive backlash against the legacy he left behind. He thought of himself as a visionary who understood his people but he received support only from a limited base that was disconnected from the masses. Most importantly, he left many of his allies, including his close friend Merkel, dealing with problematic issues such as the Iranian nuclear deal and the horrible situation in Syria. If this book teaches us anything it is that Barack Obama’s intentions were never malicious. He truly cared about America and the world. But like many leaders before him, he, too, was self-centered and arrogant. And like many other leaders, Obama failed to grasp that he does not hold the singular solution to the world’s many problems.   Mamduh al-Miheni

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