NJ Peace Action

Obama Report Card

MID-TERM GRADES FOR OBAMA PRESIDENCY

January 2011

 

 

It has now been two years since the beginning of the Obama presidency. At mid-term, NJ Peace Action is taking this opportunity to “grade” President Obama on how well he has kept his peaceful campaign promises.

 

Nuclear Disarmament                            B-

 

President Obama publicly spoke in favor of nuclear disarmament in April 2008, as part of his campaign for the presidency. Early in his term, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work for disarmament and promises to work for peace. In December 2010, he rallied to ensure that the new START Treaty was ratified. This treaty requires the U.S. and Russia to reduce their nuclear arsenals by 25%, leaving 1,500 nuclear warheads in each country. The treaty also allows each country to monitor each other’s efforts at nuclear disarmament.  But President Obama loses points for allowing too many concessions, including an additional $185 billion for nuclear weapon modernization and nuclear weapons laboratories, in order to get the treaty ratified.

 

 

Iraq                                                        C

 

President Obama kept his promise to withdraw troops from Iraq in August 2010, but the withdrawal was minimal and U.S. presence in Iraq for the most part remains unchanged. There should be an immediate and full withdrawal of U.S. troops and contractors, and the Iraqi people must be allowed to take charge of their own country, without U.S. interference.

 

 

Afghanistan                                                         

 

President Obama’s foreign policy in Afghanistan receives a failing grade. As we near the 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, the Obama Administration has done very little to end the war and withdraw the troops. Instead he has called for a troop surge and provides no end date for troop withdrawal. Additionally, his original pledge to begin withdrawing troops in July 2011 has been pushed back.  In a public statement, President Obama states the U.S./NATO will remain in Afghanistan for at least 4 more years.

 

 

Closing Guantánamo Prison                        D-        

 

In the first days in office, President Obama called for Guantánamo Prison to be closed. But the prison remains open with little to no change in its operation two years later.And although more than 50 Yemeni detainees were cleared of any charges, President Obama signed an order not to allow any of them to return to Yemen. The rationale is that a Nigerian who is accused of attempting to detonate a bomb on an aircraft on Christmas 2009 was trained in Yemen.

 

Brokering Peace in Israel                               C-

 

President Obama had met with Prime Minister Netanyahu to try to broker peace in Israel, but he has failed tostand firm on his criticism of Israel's plans to build more illegal settlements and for the attack on the flotilla bringing aid to Gaza. The upcoming vote in the UN Security Council on a resolution denouncing Israel’s illegal settlements will be an opportunity for the U.S. to directly criticize the building of the settlements.

 

Negotiation with Iran to Prevent            B

Nuclear Proliferation

 

The U.S. has continued work with the UN as part of the UN Security Council to monitor Iran’s nuclear program and prevent them from developing nuclear weapons. It is admirable and we are gratified that President Obama has not followed through on proposed threats of the U.S. using military action against Iran to prevent their developing a nuclear arsenal.

 

 

Military Spending                                               D

 

The FY 2011 Defense Authorization Act provides for the largest military budget since the end of WWII. While efforts have been made to identify ways in which to cut the military budget that has yet to happen, and the $78 billion proposed has been called a “pin-prick” on a behemoth by former Reagan budget director David Stockman.

 

Disclaimer:These grades reflect the grading system of members of NJ Peace Action’s Political Action Committee. NJPA understands that others within the organization and outside of it may draw different conclusions.

 

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