Obama: The Last Year and the Legacy, Part 1

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Media Outlet: Foreign Policy

The State of the Union speech is over, but the Obama presidency is not. Barack Obama has one last year in the White House: one last year to finish unfinished business, fix mistakes, and live up to the hopes of the tens of millions of Americans who first swept him into office in 2008. Pundits keep saying it’s time for Obama to focus on his legacy. For once, they’re right.

The president won’t have an easy task. Despite some significant accomplishments — the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate change accord, for instance — a majority of Americans disapprove of his overall job performance, and an even larger majority disapproves of his foreign-policy performance. Barring divine intervention, a year isn’t long enough for Obama to bring peace to the Middle East or turn Russia and China into genuine democracies.

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Rosa Brooks is an ASU Future of War senior fellow at New America, working with the International Security program and the ASU Future of War project. She writes about the changing nature of warfare, the changing role of the U.S. military, and need to rethink core assumptions about the laws of war.