US President-elect Donald Trump has spoken frequently of his interest to work with Russia to fight IS, and he suggested he is inclined to cut US support for Syrian rebel groups that oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. By contrast, the... Obama administration, while avoiding direct escalation against the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian backers, has steadfastly refused... cooperation with the Assad regime and has said it believes he lost the legitimacy to govern Syria.

Since January 2009, the US Export-Import Bank has signed almost $34bn worth of low-interest loans and guarantees to companies and foreign governments to build, expand and promote fossil fuel projects abroad. That’s about three times more financing than the taxpayer-backed bank provided during George W Bush’s two terms, and almost twice the amount financed with loans and guarantees under the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush and Bill Clinton – combined.

The Obama administration is giving the elite Joint Special Operations Command...expanded power to track, plan and potentially launch attacks on terrorist cells around the globe ... it will elevate JSOC from being a highly-valued strike tool used by regional military commands to leading a new multiagency intelligence and action force ... The missions could occur well beyond the battlefields...where Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) has carried out clandestine operations in the past.

Obama’s antitrust enforcers have been somewhat more aggressive than the Bush administration in challenging mergers. But that has come in the face of a record-breaking wave of often audacious deals. Nor has the Obama administration brought any major cases challenging companies that abuse their monopoly power. It approved three major airline mergers, for example, leaving four companies in control of more than 80 percent of the market.

the Obama administration’s five-year-old “regulatory review” has saved the government $38 billion ...results from streamlining the process and removing duplicative or outdated rules ... An example is the Labor Department’s harmonization of chemical hazard warning requirements with those of other nations, which helped “reduce trade barriers and saving employers more than an estimated $3 billion over five years.

A President’s ability to make policies with the stroke of a pen is a good thing if you support those policies. But it means that a new President can change them overnight. When Obama took office, he immediately restored funding for overseas family-planning clinics that provided abortion services. The funding had been taken away by George W. Bush after it had been restored by Bill Clinton, who was reversing a previous action by Ronald Reagan.

The options for emptying the prison entirely are circumscribed, with executive action the only real alternative if legislation can’t be changed. Closing Guantánamo that way would represent a success, but a compromised one, in which a process that began with bipartisan ideals ended with political force. But perhaps Obama is finally free of the need to avoid political consequences.

arms sales in general — and specifically to Saudi Arabia — have been a consistent element of Obama’s tenure ... in his first five years as president, Obama sold $30 billion more in weapons than President Bush did during his entire eight years as commander in chief ... his administration has brokered more arms deals than any administration of the past 70 years, Republican or Democratic

One story that you could tell about the second half of the Obama Presidency is that the politics of the country have been pushed along by movements—Occupy, Black Lives Matter, the Tea Party—that are not basically about the contest between Democrats and Republicans but, rather, emanate from outside them. The scope of what counts in politics, of whose voices matter, has been broadened beyond those who normally vote.