How an American president will use, or not use, military power goes a long way in shaping his character, legacy and his place in history. The legacies of the three greatest American presidents; George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt, were molded, tested and determined by three transformational wars; the War of Independence, the Civil War and the Second World War. The first created the American Republic, the second saved the union and the third created a superpower. Since the end of WWII all American presidents used military force to varying degrees and with different results, at times unilaterally and at others as the leader of coalitions. Every time an American president contemplates the use of force he finds himself thinking of and reviewing past conflicts, and at times, not being able to escape from their shadows. President Obama who committed himself to punishing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons against his own people, after months of hesitation and dithering finds himself still haunted by the ghosts of the Iraq war.
Successes and failures
While President Obama is not a pacifist, he is nonetheless a strong believer in the peaceful resolution of conflictsHisham Melhem