The Stream

Barack Obama’s global legacy

How did the outgoing US president impact the world?

Barack Obama’s US presidential election in 2008 made waves around the world. Unlike most establishment politicians on both sides of the aisle, Obama opposed the Iraq war and pledged to speak with US enemies. He vowed a different global engagement based on dialogue and respecting differences. He promised to shutter the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay and to end the torture of foreign detainees. On a personal level, he was the son of a Kenyan father who spent some of his childhood years in Indonesia. Even his own name — Barack Hussein Obama — was seen as a sign to some that US foreign policy was set to change. “To all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world,” Obama said in his election night victory speech, “a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.”

Two terms later, with less than a month before he steps down, how does Obama’s record stack up? In part two of our conversation on Obama’s legacy, we discuss his foreign policy.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Trevor Thrall @Trevor_Thrall
Senior fellow, Cato Institute’s Defense and Foreign Policy Department

Karen Attiah @KarenAttiah
Global Opinions editor, The Washington Post

Vijay Prashad @vijayprashad
Professor of International Studies, Trinity College

Mychal Denzel Smith @mychalsmith
Author, “Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching

Michael Days @mikedays
Author, “Obama’s Legacy: What He Accomplished As President

Sarah Jaffe @sarahljaffe
Author, “Necessary Trouble

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.