Barack Obama: A Foreign Policy of Disengagement

  • Thomas H. Henriksen
Part of the American Foreign Policy in the 21st Century book series (AMP21C)


Henriksen analyzes how Obama was not only caught off guard by the Arab Spring but also he declined to mount a strategy capitalizing on opportunities or prepare for fallouts. Obama practiced a “leading from behind” stratagem to avoid Libya’s civil war. In Syria’s bloody cauldron, he refused to punish Bashar al Assad for crossing his “red line” by using chemical weapons. In line with his disengagement, he countered the Islamic States march deep into Iraq with incremental measures, contributing to refugees flocking into Europe and Russia’s intervention. Russia’s seizures of Crimea and eastern Ukraine were met with just sanctions and troop rotations. The Iran nuclear deal to halt arms production was premised on disentangling America from Middle East alliances and disengaging it from the region.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Open Access This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas H. Henriksen
    • 1
  1. 1.Hoover InstitutionStanford UniversityPalo AltoUSA

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