The FINANCIAL — After one of the toughest election campaigns in US history, and running neck to neck with his Republican rival Mitt Romney, Americans chose Obama.
The FINANCIAL — After one of the toughest election campaigns in US history, and running neck to neck with his Republican rival Mitt Romney, Americans chose Obama as the next President and gave him the green light to go “Forward”.
Mitt Romney, in his speech conceding victory to Obama, was gracious and undoubtedly magnanimous. Obama in his acceptance speech was equally courteous to Romney and invited him to work closely with his administration in finding solutions to the myriad of problems America and the world faces today. For Obama, garnering bipartisan support is vital especially when Republicans have majority seats in the House of Representatives. The campaign euphoria is over. Serious tasks, including the “fiscal cliff” are ahead.
Obama is totally rejuvenated and breathes much passion and hope as he begins his second term in the Oval Office. Although an Obama win was tipped by most Polls, his victory stunned many observers. It was perhaps his crowning glory as the first black President in American history to steam- roll a campaign to convince the Americans that, however hard it has been during the last years, he needed a second term to consolidate and go forward. Passing of the land mark Medicare bill which ensured medical insurance for all Americans, his bail-out of the auto industry and America’s slow but steady movement toward growth in jobs and economy did give him validity to his argument that the road to recovery is solid.
Mitt Romney was equally convincing. He also scored high on being a “likeable” person, with a wonderful wife, children and grand children, all being portrayed as the best of the best in America. But there were doubts about bringing on board an investment banker linked to the more powerful Wall Street, who discounted the value of “ forty seven” per cent of Americans in his grand strategy for America’s economic revival. Obama, on the contrary, made Americans believe in a more just and equitable society where the American Dream was embedded. At the end, the balance was tipped in favour of Obama.
Obama, the man, the father, the friend and the President of America has a unique vision and a purposeful sense of direction. And he is young. He packs an unbelievable charisma and portrays himself as genuinely honest, clean and fair-minded while being direct, strong and unwavering. The world opinion, both from the developing countries and from Europe also favoured Obama as a more reasonable and dependable President whose policy stances and political philosophy are known to be in line with the Democratic Party’s traditions and values.
Having come this far, and elected once again to the most powerful post in the world, what legacy could Obama leave behind other than restoring the economic strength of his country and making the American Dream stay alive? One major agenda is devising a comprehensive strategy, establishing the road map and milestones for re-ordering the world into a global community of nations which view each other as strategic allies and not as enemies, of defusing tensions across borders, of beginning a process of engagement with China, Russia and other states viewed by America as being “threats” to the American economic, military and social superiority.
During the last several years, the United States has lost much of its glitz as a value-driven bearer of the best standards. Its financial institutions and related entities have shown abominable greed and the “fat cats” in Wall Street have demonstrated a clear lack of decorum and decency in managing other people’s wealth. The Iraq War, waged on the most spurious of evidence of non-existent weapons of mass destruction, it’s decade long war in Afghanistan from which it has now decided to pull out, the pre-emptive drone strikes which leaves behind collateral damage by way of civilian deaths, the mounting scale of criticism of American foreign policies in the Middle East and other big and small nations around the world – these have all given America a somewhat disturbing reputation as a self-centred, control-freak nation.
Mitt Romney was not favoured by most Europeans, Japanese and Chinese for precisely the same reason of having a President who would push America’s cause at any price, irrespective of whether it hurt some nations or not. Fareed Zakaria’s GPS program on CNN had a senior political analyst from France saying “French loved Obama in 2008. Now they still want Obama not because they love him but because they fear Romney”.
The World does need a super-power such as the United States to deal with rogue states, dictators and to protect the fundamental freedoms of people. The modalities of dealing with such terrorist states and the terrorists on the move however need to be well structured. The United States could in fact spear-head a direct action program of intervention, based on a UN sponsored charter to curb and control corrupt and dictatorial governments elsewhere, but the rules must be applied irrespective of whether a head of state or the state itself is either a friend or foe.
In his heart-warming acceptance speech, Obama said the “best is yet to come”. He has now a very clear opportunity to move America to a position of being a global leader with the right set of values and strategy where nations, big and small, can look to this great nation for leadership in freedom, democracy, fair play, peace building and hope. A deep re-thinking and re-alignment needs to take place in the citadels of power where strategic alliances in research and development, in education and health, in poverty elimination and a myriad of other spheres must play a vital uniting role that bring people together. Competition and competitive strategies may look attractive to unbridled capitalism, but strategic alliances that bring out the best in people, are far more intelligent and pain-staking to build. Global competition in grabbing limited resources, the constant pursuit of surplus profits and creation of new market demands always result in wastage of scarce resources.
I would like to see President Obama charter a sublime strategy with a living global vision, clearly targeted at reduction of tensions and building of bridges across people and nations. It should be his big dream and his lasting legacy. As a black American holding the highest and most powerful position in the world, he has the power to influence statesmen and billions of people. If he sets a bold trend in American politics where America and all other powerful nations view global well-being, instead of constantly harping on their own narrow national aspirations, as being the core of global political and economic conduct, I would think that a new era will certainly dawn for humanity.