In an UpFront special, we ask his former policy adviser and his personal aide about the man and his policies.
In this week’s UpFront, we speak to former US President Barack Obama adviser Derek Chollet on the legacy of the outgoing president’s foreign and security policies.
In the Reality Check, Mehdi Hasan exposes Obama’s dark legacy on deportations.
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We also talk to Reggie Love, Obama’s former personal aide and “body man”, on what Obama is like when the cameras are off.
Headliner – How will Obama’s legacy be remembered?
On January 20, President Barack Obama hands over the reins of power to President-elect Donald Trump.
Derek Chollet, former director at the National Security Council, spoke to UpFront about Obama’s foreign policy decisions and his legacy.
“I think he will be missed,” said Chollet, who was also assistant secretary of defense in Obama’s administration. “As time goes on, there will be even greater appreciation here in the United States and around the world for many of President Obama’s accomplishments in foreign policy.”
When asked about Syria, Chollet admitted there were “many failures” by the Obama administration, but pointed out some success.
“Those of us who were involved in the making of Syria policy in the last five years don’t look with any pride upon what Syria is today … [but] I think 1,300 tonnes of chemical weapons out of Syria is good for the world, good for us,” says Obama’s former adviser.
Chollet also rejected allegations by former State Department colleague Frederic Hof, who claimed Obama was a “failed president” because of Syria, and that his policy was influenced by accommodating Iran to keep the nuclear deal intact.
“I don’t think there’s any evidence of that, despite what former colleagues may assert,” said Chollet. “I don’t see that as in any way connected to any of the policy decisions on Syria.”
On the subject of the controversial drone programme, which expanded under the Obama administration and was used to target a US citizen, Chollet said the outgoing president used the resources available, including the drone programme, “effectively”.
“He’s used them quite effectively … I think there’s been a lot of success in disrupting terrorist networks,” said Chollet. “There are many instances, by the way, where he doesn’t take the shot.”
In this Headliner, former US Assistant Secretary of Defense Derek Chollet, who is the author of The Long Game: How Obama defied Washington and redefined America’s role in the world, defends Obama’s foreign policy decisions and legacy.
Reality Check – Barack Obama: The deporter-in-chief
There has been much talk about US President elect Donald Trump’s hardline stance on immigration. But Trump will be inheriting a well-oiled deportation infrastructure from the Obama administration, which has deported 2.5 million people – more than every single US president of the 20th century combined.
In this week’s Reality Check, Mehdi Hasan exposes the deporter-in-chief’s legacy on deportation.
What’s the “real” Obama really like?
What was President Barack Obama like in private? What was his reaction to the killing of Osama bin Laden when the cameras were off?
In an interview with Reggie Love, who was Obama’s personal aide and “body man”, he told us.
“I remember the day and, you know, it was an historical day, I think for our country and for his presidency,” said Love.
When asked whether the country’s first black president brought more diversity to the White House, Love said he was “great”.
“In terms of diversity throughout the entire administration, I think he was great,” said Love. “You had a huge amount of diversity throughout the entire Obama administration.”