Libya today is not much more stable than Syria because of poor planning and execution following the removal of Muammar Gaddafi. From the outset, the Obama administration repeatedly stressed the limits of American involvement in Libya, “leading from behind.” Intervention would establish a no-fly zone, deliver humanitarian aid, and let the Libyans sort out the rest, but would be coupled with calls for Gaddafi to step down. The failure to stabilize Libya following Gaddafi’s removal created an environment where revolutionary militias that had yet to demobilize, disarm, and reintegrate into Libyan society turned against one other, which drove civil war and provided an opening for ISIS to establish a significant foothold in the country. Because Libya has become a failed state, terrorists will continue to establish safe havens, control Libya’s vast potential wealth, and contribute to regional insecurity.
Secretary Clinton overstates her role in imposing “the toughest sanctions on Iran” as well as the comprehensiveness and efficacy of the Iran deal itself. The Obama administration did not build an international coalition to impose sanctions on Iran, but rather inherited that coalition from the Bush administration, which had already secured five UN Security Council resolutions against Iran’s nuclear and missile activities. The most powerful sanctions on Iran were imposed by Congress in late 2011, and were opposed by the Obama administration. The most significant Iran policy change made by the Obama administration was direct bilateral outreach to the Iranians, which contributed to the conclusion of the Iran nuclear deal in July 2015. That agreement with Iran temporarily limits but does not halt or dismantle Iran’s nuclear program.