Despite Obama’s drawdowns in the Middle East, he still had nearly 200,000 active duty U.S. military personnel stationed overseas as his administration ended. The Trump administration’s most recent figure, minus the secret Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan figures, is 174,000. Adding back in best estimates for those hotspots, America’s numerical overseas commitments are pretty much equal from decade end to beginning.
Similarly, and despite Trump’s grumbling about cheapskate allies from NATO and elsewhere not holding up their end of our “manage the planet” bargain, our military alliance structure has remained intact as the decade went on, from Asia (where our mutual defense pacts are still in full force and our troop levels remain high) to NATO (where troop deployments and exercises continue to increase, and the U.S. is planning new bases) to Latin America (where Trump’s administration toyed with invasion to get our way in Venezuelan domestic politics).
The decade also saw some fresh disasters when it came to our interventionist instincts. In 2011, Obama led a campaign in Libya that killed its dictator while leaving chaos, terror, and instability in its wake. Our absurd dedication to our “alliance” with Saudi Arabia made us complicit in its ongoing—and massively destructive—attacks in Yemen. That effort, begun under Obama, has killed or displaced hundreds of thousands of people while leaving millions at risk of starvation. Trump, despite his grumblings about pointless overseas alliances and interventions, is so dedicated to continuing it that he vetoed an attempt to get him to stop, with nothing whatsoever in terms of U.S. interests for this supposed “America First” president except pleasing the butchers who run our “ally” Saudi Arabia.