Thursday, November 06, 2008

You could almost hear the global sigh of relief

CNN 2008-11-05

The Times of London said Obama had revitalized U.S. politics. In Germany, Der Spiegel called Obama's rise "astonishing," while the Times of India called Obama an "advocate of strong partnership with India."

Al Jazeera said Obama had "surfed to power on a wave of voter discontent generated by the failures of President George Bush and the Republican Party" and added that he faces "unique challenges." It continued that his country was "sick of war."

Actually, the whole world pronounced itself sick of what it perceived to be Bush's multipronged military approach. From the start, President Obama will have to tackle the campaign pledge that defined his candidacy: bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq and ending the war there.
At the same time, he has to tackle a Rubik's Cube of America's overstretched and fatigued forces, to figure out how to redeploy more to wrest victory from the jaws of defeat in Afghanistan.
And next door in Pakistan, he must devise a strategy to rescue a failing state, bolster democracy and simultaneously crack down on al Qaeda and Taliban militants there.

And what about Iran? Many believe that's Foreign Policy Challenge Number 1A, if not Number 1, because of Iran's nuclear program.

Iran officially reacted to Obama's victory with cautious optimism, praising the end of what it termed "Bush's defeated policies." It added that Obama "can play an important role in future relations between the U.S. and Asia and the Middle East."

Here in America, many former secretaries of state and other officials also believe in playing that role. They say an Obama administration should explore the possibility of engaging with Iran and even restoring diplomatic relations as a way to help solve challenges such as Iran's nuclear program and its role in regional power politics in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East peace process.

Obama can ride the wave of warm welcome from European and other global allies, but he is already being encouraged to restore an era of cooperation and compromise after the unilateral approach of the Bush administration.

"The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place, we are entering a period of consequences." - Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm

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