Between two undesirable candidates, many voters favored Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.
Supremely calculating, she presented herself as the continuation of the Obama administration. Her calculus, apparently was that shre needed his active support in order to bring out the African-American vote and to win.
Consequently, Hillary eschewed criticism if Obama’s policies, and nowhere more so than in the area of foreign policy.
Obama’s foreign policy had, with some exceptions, disastrous consequences. The main exception was in the realm of climate change, where he converted the U.S. failure at Copenhagen into a very significant victory in Paris, even without legally binding limits on carbon emissions that would have required Senate approval.
A second exception, perhaps, was the conclusion of the Iran nuclear deal, despite its two major shortcomings: 1) it was adopted in a form that was sold in the U.S. as not legally binding; and 2) it was “delinked” from an Iranian behavior, however egregious, in the region.
Because he was unable to work with the Republicans in the Senate that might enable him to secure Senate approval by a two-thirds majority for an international treaty, and was unable to secure majorities in the Republican-controlled houses for approval in the form of a Congressional-Executive Agreement or law, he proceeded to act unilaterally in the field of foreign affairs.
One of his last actions before the election on November 8 was to abstain on the U.N. General Assembly Resolution condemning the U.S. embargo against Cuba. Devoid of operational impact but highly symbolic in itself, this action smacked of unilateralism, of shoving actions down the throats of his Republican opponents, and probably cost him a significant number of votes among the Cuban-American community in Florida.
A third exception has been the strategy for defeating ISIS or the so-called Islamic State, by providing advisers and trainers (some 5,000 in Iraq) and air support to help the Iraqi government and its Shia militia allies militarily roll back previous ISIS advances in Iraq, including the taking of Mosul.
This strategy appears to be working. Yet it calls into question the need for the U.S.-Russian military cooperation and sharing of information which Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama pushed so hard, over the apparent objections of the Pentagon and the CIA, until it fell apart following the accidental bombing and killing of 62 Syrian soldiers and the resumption of Russian bombing of Aleppo in the days that ensued.
Beyond these three exceptions, it is hard to find any really important foreign policy successes under Barack Obama, unless you call the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba as a success. The real success would have been a repeal of the embargo with Republican support. That, however, was never a realistic possibility.
The rest of Obama’s foreign policy as largely a failure though of course there were minor successes along the way achieved by the many dedicated men and women who worked on specific issues.
The failures of Obama’s foreign policy, on the other hand, were legion, from the tepid response to Russian military aggression in the Crimea and the eastern Ukraine to the failure to halt the war crimes and avoid the deaths of a half a million people in Syria. We have also witnessed a creeping coup d’état by Tayib Erdowan in Turkey, a NATO member country.