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People and Politics Forum 16. 01. 2009

"What do you expect of Barack Obama?"

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Germany's Expectations of the New US President

At no time in recent memory has the inauguration of a new US president been as eagerly awaited as the moment Barack Obama's. The president elect will take the oath of office on January 20th. Germany is just one of the many countries hoping for a new course under the charismatic young leader of African-American descent. While European countries are eager for Washington to reform its foreign- and environmental- policies, the current economic malaise makes it likely that President Obama will ask European allies to make greater financial and military contributions to joint international missions such as in Afghanistan.

Our Question is:

"What do you expect of Barack Obama?"

Thoughtful comments from Herbert Fuchs, in Finland,

"I don't expect too much from him during his first 100 days...Obama faces a shambles and a host of problems, not just at home but also globally, as he seeks to improve America's reputation and smokes peace pipes with countries hostile to the USA, thanks to Obama's predecessor. Getting the global economy back on its feet is in itself a massive task and bigger than landing on the moon...For me personally, putting US-European ties on a sure footing and reestablishing trust is important..."

Helge Weyland, in Argentina, is irritated:

"I suggest everyone compares Obama's lectures, suggestions and briefings from 2007 onwards to what he said in 2008 to make a judgement on 'Oblablama'..."

Gerhard Seeger, Philippinen, is optimistically cautious:

"It's nearly 'show time' for Obama, as they say in the States, and he will be holding the reins of power and proving his mettle to the world. I just hope he fulfills as many promises as he can, everything won't be possible. Those who think he will change the world (probably) expect too much. The damage done by Bush and Co. can't be reversed that quickly. Obama has already said it will take two years to close down Guantanamo. I just hope he secures a bit more peace and financial security, earning him a second term which he will need.".

Amin Zoqurti, in Jordan, writes:

"People can expect a lot from Obama but I don't think he will do all that much. And anyway, not everything depends on who's president."

But Lee Davis, in the USA, is optimistic:

"I expect my president will lead the US and the world out of the Great Depression. There is legislation that should pass within the first 30 days of the Obama presidency. That will send us on that path."

Mustafa Alani, in Iraq, also believes Obama has already made his list:

"I think the main concern of Obama will be domestic politics due to the striking financial crisis hitting the whole world and mainly the USA, and he is trying to find sophisticated solutions to outside American problems such as American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq."

Martin Burmeister, in Venezuela, stresses that Obama's task is not easy:

"The economic and finance crisis is another problem to be added to the promises during the election campaign. I think the new president will tackle the economic issues first to fight unemployment, so long as Congress is new and doesn't leave him financially out in the cold."

But Andrei Bolshoi, in the USA, is not too impressed:

"I think there's been too much hype in regard to our newly-elected president, some wishful thinking (I'm afraid) and the usual media hype. But having said that, I definitely welcome a Democrat to the White House."

Renè Junghans from Brazil wrote:

"I expect that Barack Obama will find a way out of the global economic crisis and not just for the US, but a way so the whole world has decent prospects again. Additionally that he will quickly close Guantanamo and other torture facilities and return the kidnapped inmates to their home countries and offer them help in restarting their lives. That he ends the hostilities begun by Bush, returns freedom to the Iraqis, rebuilds the country and helps the people in the best possible way to overcome the damage caused by Bush. The same applies to Afghanistan. Obama should only act militarily when lives are at stake and not to promote US imperialism. Also he should properly use taxpayers‘money, for example in providing American children a proper education and ending the nationwide ignorance. Using his military to stop the illicit drug trade would be totally appropriate at any time or place, such as Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and other drug regions. Go for the root of the evil! Otherwise there is an endless list of expectations probably too long for this forum."

The editorial staff of ‘People and Politics’ reserves the right to shorten letters received.