With his last speech as the United States preside, Barack Obama seals a page of the history of the United States, which ends under a very stabbing air. A presidency which will leave certain tracks in the history, for the better and for the worse.
"Yes we did!" One of the last words of Barack Obama as 44th president of the history of the United States, on Tuesday, January 10th, during his speech in Chicago, Illinois, where he was a senator in the 2000s. An echo to his famous motto for his election in 2008 "Yes we can". On January 20th of this year, it will be more "than a simple citizen" for him, but one of the rare People from the United States having been able to be a tenant of the White House, in Washington, and the only non-white besides. Which arouses some curiosity for many observers, generally seduced by the charisma of the member of the Democratic party.
A great hope...
The election of Barack Obama in 2008 aimed to be to be a turning point for the United States, marked by both George W. Bush's mandates, which finish by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, generating the gravest crisis of the mode of capitalist production since the "crash" of 1929. In a context of economic crisis, but also bad image of the Uncle Sam since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Obama had to show himself persuasive to improve the situation, so much he aroused a lot of hope in the American population and in the rest of the world. On the economic front, Obama knew how to answer present with an economic growth over 1.5 % of GDP a year since 2010. What helped him(it) to reduce the United States unemployment rate, droping below 5 % for 2016, considered as the threshold of the full employment, according to the estimations of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). And nevertheless, it was far from being an obvious fact seen plant closures at the end of 2008 (cf graph).
This decreasing unemployment rate strengthens the idea of a reform of the social insurance, so that the most modest can look after themselves at a lower cost. But this reform, called Obamacare, was made minimal seen the opposition of the Republican party in 2010. Besides, even if the trade balance remains widely loss-making, the Obama administration knew how to make it pass from 690 billion dollars of deficit in 2008 to 469 billion dollars of deficit according to the IMF. Nevertheless, the international institution notes that this trade deficit went up again since 2013, when there were 366 billion dollars. This being able to be due to the appreciation of the dollar, regarding to the euro.
At the diplomatic level, Obama got noticed by its phased withdrawal of troops women from the United States of Afghanistan and Iraq during its first mandate but what allowed him his re-election in 2012, doubtless, it is that it had Osama bin Laden's skin. Indeed, the leader of Al-Qaeda was looked for "dead or alive" by the authorities of Washington because of September 11 attacks, causing more than 3.000 deaths, violently putting back the world in the 21st century. Bush dealt personally with it but it is Obama who had the last word, in May, 2011. But offspring could hold three things on behalf of Obama regarding foreign policy:
He is going to remain in the history as the United States president opening the way for a diplomatic normalization with Cuba. The first one since the embargo thrown by Washington against Havana, in the 1960s. Well, there's little chances that the Congress confirms this diplomatic initiative, but she had the merit to exist, not without any ulterior motives economic, that's obvious.
An agreement was found under its mandate with Iran, on the question of nuclear power, allowing Tehran to release itself from economic sanctions the object of which it was since decade.
The abstention of the United States on a resolution of the United Nations Organization condemning the colonization of the West Bank by Israel, nevertheless the most precious ally from Washington to the Middle East. It shows how much both allies have a relation which stretched out over the years. But the motivation of Obama on this subject could be bound to the domestic policy, to pull the rug from under the feet to Donald Trump, his successor at the White House.
... but a deep disillusionment
But there is a certain disappointment towards Obama under various angles. At the economic level, the disparities of income increased under the period Obama, as indicates it the coefficient of Gini which is upper in 2015 to what than he was in 2008, according to the data of the Federal Reserve bank of Saint-Louis. What gives an explanation to the emergence of the movement Occupy Wall Street in 2011, blaming, among others, Obama for not making a large-scale fiscal reform because of the influence of Wall Street, giants of the computing and the big fortunes, which intended to keep growing rich thanks to the work of the United States pleb, among others, while playing the false well-meaning souls with associations their name (Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, etc.). At the level of the domestic policy, it is the incapacity of the power to legislate on arms sales - because of the second amendment of the Constitution -, where in a better training of the police, ending in a series of slaughters with racist character, in particular in Dixieland. What made develop the movement Black lives matter in the face of these negrophobic police crimes almost unpunished, illustrating an "institutional racism" hardly anchored in heads. And that was able to inspire citizens white as Dylan Roof, massacring afro-descendants in a church of Charleston (South Carolina) and condemned to death penalty, on Wednesday, January 11th; or a reaction at the Afro-Americans as Micah Johnson, in July, 2016 in Dallas, killing white policemen. The irony of history wants that the mandates of Obama take place during the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War (1861-1865), which still leaves tracks in the American society.
Finally, at the level of the diplomacy, Obama knew faults. The example of Syria is terrible for him because he did not dare to intervene in spite of the crossed limits according to various experts by Bachar el-Assad who could justify said intervention. But the trauma of the war in Iraq is strong in the population, especially as it created the organization Islamic State which also rages in Syria. As a result, this retreat of the United States allowed Russia to return in the center of the diplomatic game on this conflict which lasts since 2011. This retreat is also the translation of some isolationism on behalf of Obama, at least at the military level. Otherwise, the Yankee imperialism slandered by some anti-Americans remains long-lived. Whether it is in South America where the liberal-conservative right pro-Washington picked up these last years; or in Europe, the relations of which became more complex. In particular, since Edward Snowden's revelations in 2013 on the mass surveillance operated by Washington to its European allies, among which France and Germany. What complicated the life of Obama in the negotiations on the Transatlantic free trade agreement (TAFTA), the stake in which is much more than economic according to some observers.
In any case, Obama and his family will have to keep a low profile to avoid taking itself a stray bullet on behalf of a white policeman from the end of January.