Let’s call President Barack Obama’s diplomatic surge “Obamacy.”
With the nuclear agreement with Iran all but a done deal and relations resuming with Cuba, the president’s diplomatic initiatives, at least in the realm of foreign policy, are making his last months in office look pretty good.
Yes, he may have a full head of gray hair before it’s over, but lately he’s laughing a lot more than ever. He was in good spirits Tuesday night with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” Stewart joked about “this new thing, you called earlier, diplomacy … that sounds interesting.”
Obama laughed at the comment, and then knocked Stewart’s soft ball out of the park, explaining that the seeds of his diplomacy were planted from the very start of his presidency. He was merely reiterating his belief that diplomacy is a better option than military power, though there have been many questions about his sincerity on this matter.
And the president should be pleased to learn that a recent poll conducted by the Associated Press and GfK found that 58 percent of Americans approve of his handling of America’s relations with Havana. Even so, there remains a few kinks to be ironed out on the issues of economic reparations, the trade embargo, human rights and democracy.
Meanwhile, the deal with Iran still has to make it through Congress, which needs a two-third majority vote to override Obama’s veto, should he choose to invoke it. Of course, such a measure is sure to anger Republicans and renew the charge that the president is once again using his executive authority. Moreover, there is a cat and mouse game between the U.S. Congress and the Iranian government as to who will make the first move on the agreement.
Many of the Republicans are still smarting over Obama’s acquisition of the fast-track authority he requested on the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty, which allows him to proceed on the deal without Congress invoking a filibuster.
Climate change, immigration reform and the always simmering crisis in the Middle East are other items on the Obamacy agenda that require some attention before he closes the door on his tenure. And speaking of closing, will he get around to dealing with Guantanamo Bay?
That the president actually said the words “mass incarceration” and his granting a record number of commutations of imprisoned felons are other remarkable developments from a so-called lame duck. In fact, Obamacy may also be a portmanteau of his name with legacy.