Obama’s reputation has improved since the reality of President Trump began to sink in, but we mustn’t sentimentalise him.
One of the key aspects of the Obama administration has been the growth of the use of predator drones. Although underreported in the western press, drones are a major development in warfare, often not properly regulated By the way the United States gathers information, males of military age are by default classed as Enemies Killed in Action. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimate that 800 civilians could have been killed by drones in a range of countries. The use of drones has meant that children in Pakistan have learned to fear clear blue skies, because they are better suited for the use of drones.
Compared to the Bush administration’s most ludicrous lies (that extraordinary rendition is not torture, or that Iraq was building weapons of mass destruction, for example) this is nothing. Trump will probably set another low bar for Obama to leap over. But being less bad than his predecessor should not obscure the fact that President Obama did not govern as the idealist he campaigned as.
This is no reason to pretend that Obama is as bad as Bush. A lesser evil does not suggest that there are not varieties and shades of evil. But we must be realistic, and accept that just because he is charismatic, smooth, and a talented singer, Barack Obama is not beyond criticism.