The events of the past week could define Barack Obama’s 2nd term as US President.
Following his victory over the woeful Mitt Romney one would have thought the President would have had a honeymoon period of even 24 hours. But any celebrations was stalled by the events around the resignation of David Prataeus as Director of the CIA following a romantic affair with his biographer.
How Obama won the election despite overseeing a sluggish economy defies belief but he was lucky that the Republicans made his re-election easy after they selected Romney ahead of a right bunch that included Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann. All of whom would have been a frightening prospect if they had the keys to the Oval office.
President Obama hopefully will come to some resolution with the Republican Senate and Congress on the terms to improve the economy. A strong US economy is vital to the stability of countries like Jamaica.
Repeatedly those who have politically opposed Obama since his early days in local Illinois politics have underestimated the resilience this African American. At every turn he has shown a strength that has been inspiring. To be the first black President of the US is no mean feat but to be re-elected with record votes (for a 2nd term Democrat) is nothing short of a phenomenal achievement.
The likes of Hilary Clinton and Leon Panetta are due to leave Obama’s cabinet.Obama should have had his new Cabinet in place to kick start term 2 now. Unlike most other democratic countries the new cabinet does not really kick in until after the inauguration in January. That’s over 2 months of lame duck politics that a country like the US government can ill afford. [In the UK if the PM loses the general election he or she is out the very next day.]
Take for example what has transpired between Israel and the Palestinians this week.
- Did Israel PM Binyamin Netanyanhu launch such an intensive attack in Gaza because Obama won the elections (& not Romney) and did not support the PM’s planned attack on Iran?
- Or did the Israel PM launch the attack just as the Palestinian leadership were due to press their bid for a Palestinian state at the UN?
- Did Netanyahu launch the assault with the upcoming Israeli elections in January in mind?
The US Secretary of State should be in the Middle East knocking heads and force Israel to end the strangulation of the Palestinian community.
We all know that Obama does not have much time for Netanyahu (listen this) and the President needs to dampen down his public unconditional support for the regime and force them into line. Such old school politics has not worked over the past 50 years. Obama says the US has a right to defend itself and so too the Palestinians.
If Obama does not rein in Israel then his hope of deposing President Assad of Syria could back fire and Arab Spring-like protests could have an negative effect (for American) with undemocratic friendly states such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia . Obama needs to stop Netanyahu running rings round the US. The Iranian and Syrian government must be delight that the focus has shifted from
During the first term of his presidency Obama has had a few big victories. Who would have thought that Medicare would have passed into Law? But he stood firm and won that war against his political and right wing opponents.
At his first press conference since his victory President Obama looked a new man. He came across presidential and like a man who had removed any doubt about role as the Commander in Chief. He sounded decisive and appeared to realise he has been given a 2nd chance. His public support for Israel needs to be more measured whilst tempering his hardline approach to the Palestinians. That approach has caused too many innocent lives.
I have no idea how the Israel Palestinian issue can be resolved but history is full of long standing tensions eventually being resolved. Maybe the Obama government should speak to those who brought an end to the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
There, the Catholic and Protestant politicians are now working together which was not the case for generations when thousands of lives were lost to terrorism. The likes of Bill Clinton, John Major, John Mitchell, Bertie Ahern plus key figures in Northern Ireland politics such as John Hume were integral to the ending of the Northern Ireland troubles.
Who would have thought that arch enemies such as Unionist leader Dr Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness (Sinn Fein/IRA) would have worked in the same coalition government? Yet they have done so and the US Government were instrumental in getting both sides to the table, leading to Paisley becoming First Minister and McGuinness his deputy in the most surreal of government coalitions.
Obama could recruit respected respected diplomats such as Colin Powell to co-ordinate such high level talks between Israel and Palestine. But Obama can do something about it and should. Egos are causing too many lives on both sides.
As the President embarks on a tour of the Far East which includes a visit to the draconian state of Myanmar spare a thought for our mutual neighbour Cuba. That’s another US foreign policy going nowhere.