The Top 5 U.S. Foreign Policy Screw-Ups of 2012

From its policies in Libya to its approach to Syria, the Obama administration has been a disappointment on the world stage in 2012.

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3. Mali

Another country where the unintended consequences of NATO’s intervention in Libya are on display is Mali, where Islamic extremists have taken over the north and are implementing Shariah.

During Libya’s civil war, Gaddafi recruited mercenaries from neighboring countries like Chad. One group that Gaddafi looked to in particular was the Tuaregs. After Gaddafi’s death, many Tuaregs went to northern Mali, where they helped form the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, a group that advocates for the independence of the northern region of Mali. Militants with links to Al Qaeda have since pushed them out of the region:

The Tuareg rebels, largely armed by the remnants of deposed Libyan leader Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s arsenal, have since been pushed out by their onetime allies, the Islamists, proving no match for the firepower and determination of the jihadist fighters who now reign uncontested over northern Mali. Some of those Islamists are homegrown members of Ansar Dine, a group that has been supported by Al Qaeda, experts say. Others are believed to be part of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, an affiliate known by the initials A.Q.I.M. that has a presence throughout the Sahel.

These Islamic extremists are causing unrest in the region and their actions have not gone unnoticed. France and the U.S. have both shown an interest in intervening in Mali, and it now looks as if an international force is being put together to remove Islamic extremists from northern Mali.

In fact, the U.S. has positioned itself as a key player in whatever international force that gets organized.  The AP reported last week that American officials were working with the African Union and ECOWAS, going so far as to send “planners” and is considering supporting countries that contribute troops to the effort.

The administration’s failure in Mali has been its inability to leave it alone. Even were one to be inclined to think that a foreign invasion would be able to remove Islamic extremists and establish peace, other nations have already expressed an interest in such an endeavor. If the U.S. were to get more involved then we can only expect the anti-American rhetoric in the region and among Al Qaeda’s ranks to grow stronger. Mali is an example of an annoying tendency this president has exhibited throughout this presidency, his insatiable need to do something in the light of events abroad. 

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  • SIV||

    If no one has left a comment you know even fewer have read the article.

  • Paul.||

    The hypocrisy and stupidity of this administration’s foreign policy is perhaps best illustrated not by its incoherent rhetoric surrounding attacks on diplomats, its support of worrying elements in Assad’s opposition, or its support for intervention in Mali, but by its use of a secretive drone program.

    The Secret drone program shows that Obama is a foreign policy heavyweight. He's not afraid of the tough decisions. Keeping Guantanamo open is his greatest foreign policy achievement.

  • Nuked||

    Obama had to because of BUSHHHHHH!!!!!

  • Paul.||

    The results of the Arab Spring will not be known for some time.

    Uhh, the results are known now. By looking at the results. Whether those results continue to change-- for the better or for the worse-- only time will tell. But yeah, Springtime for Arabs got Egypt an Islamist power-grabbing tyrant, and got us a dead ambassador in Libya. Hooray for Twitter!

  • Nuked||

    We give them democracy, it is now theirs to do what they want with. It is not our business if they vote in extremists. This is why we should stop meddling in their affairs.

  • The Derider||

    Save this column for 30 years in the future when we might actually know with some degree of confidence the consequences of contemporary foreign policy.

    Also, you think toppling Gaddafi wasn't worth four lives in Libya? The relationship seems pretty tenuous to me, but do tell...

  • Nuked||

    I wouldn't give my life to topple Gaddafi.

  • Lyle||

    He's dead now so why would you?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    joe, you were singing an awfully different tune about Iraq circa 2005-06.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    From the wayback machine

    joe| 10.5.05 @ 2:22PM

    "Joe, you sound almost as if you want the iraqi referendum to fail, as if to score political points. That's pretty low."

    yeah yeah yeah, clap louder or Tinkerbell will die.

    I'm not going to put on a happy face and pretend everything's going well just so you can feel better, rafuzo.

    TallDave, you seem to have trouble with the concept of "cost." Let's put it this way: would you rather have a nickel in your pocket, or would you rather have me punch you in the mouth and give you a dime?

    Pointing out that a dime is worth more than a nickel doesn't answer the question.
  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    joe| 10.5.05 @ 2:29PM

    Yeah, well, tell that to the women picking up pieces of their husbands after a carbombing. Tell them that they're better off now that there are terrorists slaughtering people in the street all over their country.

    Anybody can play that dishonest game, ToolDave. Come on, TRY to make a valid argument. Think positive! You can do it!
  • Lyle||

    I happy with our accomplishments in the North Africa and the Middle East. At least four despotic governments have fallen or are falling. That's a good years worth of work.

    It's not Bush or Obama's that conservative Islam is in the midst of some kind of Great Awakening. At least with Islamists coming to power in some of these countries we know and the people there know what they're dealing with. It was much harder to see when these guys were under the jackboots of despotism.

    Huzzah for liberty in the Arab world! It won't be perfect and there will be blood, but it's better than what was.

  • Lyle||

    Bush or Obama's fault

  • uythsb||

    merry christmas to u,thank you so is nice blog

  • CZmacure||

    ha! nice video that wake TFU one...

    but it gives the impression it was perfectly ok to sleep through the nightmare or george w's reign..

    if people were not awake after he stole 2000... they aint never gonna wake the FU!

  • waaminn||

    Sometimes you ohjsut have to roll with it man!


    Does your top 5 only count to 3 or am I missing something?

  • DarrenM||

    The article is titled "The Top 5 U.S. Foreign Policy Screw-Ups of 2012". Did not of Bush's screwups make the top 5 or is the article title wrong?

  • iggy||

    Bush wasn't president in 2012? Are you joking?

  • uythsb||

    Merry Christmas


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