Following eight groundbreaking years in office, Barack Obama’s farewell tour has officially begun. Currently abroad, Obama’s itinerary has included snapshots with members of Britain’s Royal Family, a leisurely stop-off at London’s famed Golden Globe Theater, and taking to the political podium in an effort to persuade Britons from voting to leave the European Union.
However, Obama’s London excursion was highlighted by Saturday’s Lindley Hall meeting to address questions fielded by a group of U.S. Embassy’s Young Leaders U.K. program. When queried by an insightful student concerning some of his prouder accomplishments, the 44th P.O.T.U.S. responded as follows.
“Saving the world economy from a Great Depression — that was pretty good. For us to be able to mobilize the world’s community, to take rapid action, to stabilize the financial markets, and then in the United States to pass Wall Street’s reforms that make it much less likely that a crisis like that can happen again, I’m proud of that.”
While regaling an exclusive, bright-eyed audience, President Barack Obama further elaborated upon highlights of his eight-year legacy. In addition to Obama’s prided economic achievements, the now 54-year-old expressed profound satisfaction concerning his blockbuster Iran nuclear deal. A satisfied Obama reiterated his nuclear treatise had effectively diverted world crisis, while avoiding destructive warfare.
Following a fond reminiscence, Obama balked when his chance arose to address the upcoming Presidential election. Instead, Obama’s dialogue concerning current policy extended to the Trans Pacific Partnership. The towering trade deal involves Asian-Pacific nations, however, Obama noted that the pact remains unfinished, and may continue to do so even after his time in office concludes.
Nevertheless, amid an evening of lively back and forth discussion, the departing second-term Head Of State summated his lengthy presidential tenure, stating that “I think that I have been true to myself during this process.”
Though apparently at ease with his time in office, on Saturday, Obama was curiously remiss to mention his two defining legacies as president: “The Affordable Health Care For America Act,” and the May 2, 2011, capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden.
And while the historical statesman’s health care reform act, colloquially dubbed as “Obamacare,” has been met with universal ambivalence, it can be said Barack Hussein Obama’s greatest moment likely occurred when he spearheaded the mission to capture, and kill, 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden.
The heinous atrocities inflicted upon America — and the world — by Bin Laden’s al-Qaida terror cell sparked a conflict between the U.S. and Afghanistan that has endured since 2001. Although the former Illinois Senator did not end the Afghanistan occupation as promised, he was, however, able to snuff out the elusive figurehead of those fateful attacks.
Even with these aforementioned omissions notwithstanding, President Obama is utilizing his final months in office to shape world opinion regarding his legacy. Concerning Obama’s attempts, Anthony Cordesman, a foreign policy analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, regards Obama’s efforts to construe how he will ultimately be recalled as moot, stating the following.
“I can give you one iron law: The president cannot shape his legacy. And he certainly can’t shape it on the basis of trips, public relations and White House press statements in this last year in office. But every president I can think of during my adult life has tried.”
Indeed, Obama cannot be blamed for an effort to place his time as a leading world figure in perspective. However, following a Sunday trip to Hanover, Germany, in support of political ally Angela Merkel, Barack Obama will return home to resume his yet unfinished presidential duties.
These duties include handling divisive Supreme Court issues, as well as campaign speeches pursuant to this Fall’s election.
President Barack Obama’s legacy will ultimately be decided by the people. His final acts in office will impact that perception still.
[Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]