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Obama's Foreign Policy Is Most Like This Former President's

Barack Obama is governing in a much different world than his predecessors. How will his foreign policy be remembered? Who does he most emulate? Hint: It's not Jimmy Carter.

Presidents Bush, Obama, Bush, Clinton and Carter back in 2009
Presidents Bush, Obama, Bush, Clinton and Carter back in 2009
Alain Frachon

-OpEd-

PARIS — If foreign policy were a beauty pageant, President Barack Obama would not be sporting a crown. The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner gets a poor score from voters at home, and one from abroad that's not much better. But it's probably not justified.

Among his predecessors, Obama is most often compared to the Democrat Jimmy Carter, whose four years in the White House from 1976 to 1980 are often described as a catastrophe. Many believe the devout Baptist from Georgia degraded the status of the United States on the international stage. He is said to have personified of a sort of depressive softness of which America's enemies, from the Soviet Union to Islamic Revolution's Iran, have taken brutal advantage.

It was necessary to elect a flamboyant former California governor and Hollywood star, Ronald Reagan, to reestablish the image that America likes to have of itself: that of the light shining on the hill, an "exception" among the nations.

Before he launched his bombing campaign against ISIS, the most severe criticism of Obama was that he was on the road to "advanced Carterization." In the polls, a majority of Americans reproached him for giving the impression of a passive and powerless America facing the perils of the day: a vengeful and increasingly powerful Russia, and the regional imperialism of a China eager to ensure its domination in southeast Asia.

But the comparison with Jimmy Carter falls flat, and for good reason. The 39th president of the United States left a solid balance sheet in terms of foreign policy. Without his assiduous mediation, Israel and Egypt — even by the admission of then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin and President Anwar al-Sadat — would never have finalized the landmark Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty of 1979. And the end of the great wars between Israel and its neighboring states was not just any achievement.

When history is written

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Hide-And-Seek Of Drone Warfare, A Letter From Ukraine's Front Line

A member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces writes his account of the new dynamic of targeting, and being targeted by, the invading Russian troops, as drones circle above and trenches get left behind.

A Ukrainian military drone operator during a testing of anti-drone rifle in Kyiv.

Igor Lutsenko*

KYIV — The current war in Ukraine is a game of hide-and-seek. Both sides are very well-stocked with artillery, enough to destroy the enemy along many kilometers. Swarms of drones fly through the air day and night, keeping a close eye on the earth's surface below. If they notice something interesting, it immediately becomes a target. Depending on the priority, they put it in line for destruction by artillery.

Therefore, the only effective way to survive is to hide, or at least somehow prove to the drones your non-priority status — and avoid moving to the front of the 'queue of death.'

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In general, the nature of this queue is a particular thing. It may seem to be a god, but is instead a simple artillery captain's decision of when to have lunch, and when to fire on the house where several enemy soldiers are staying. It's just a handful of ordinary people (observers, artillerymen) deciding how long their enemies will live depending on their own schedule or the weather, the availability of ammunition or if they're feeling tired.

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