Barack Obama

Expert Voices

Years of muddled U.S. strategy worsened fallout in Syria

black smoke rising over a town
The Syrian town of Ras al-Ain during the Turkish offensive, Oct. 17. Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP via Getty Images

The turmoil let loose in Syria this week stems in part from the absence of a clear U.S. strategy to counter terrorism and negotiate a diplomatic solution to the country's bloody civil war.

The big picture: President Trump’s hamfisted statesmanship and disregard for national security expertise notwithstanding, America's Syria policy from the Obama administration onward has instilled doubts among Middle Eastern and European allies, leading even NATO member Turkey to decisively cross the U.S.

Trump bashed Obama for executive orders, but his own record is basically the same

In this image, Trump looks to his right while Mike Pence sits behind him.
President Trump and Vice President Pence on Oct. 18. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump has issued 130 executive orders in his presidency so far — largely keeping pace with President Obama, except for the 55 orders he unleashed in 2017. (George W. Bush sent 54 in his first year).

Why it matters: Trump made it a point on the campaign trail to deride Obama's use of executive orders, saying "the country wasn't based" on them at a 2016 Republican Presidential Town Hall and that Obama's executive orders were "a basic disaster," since he couldn't "even get along with the Democrats."