Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Obama presidency, high global expectations

A lot has been written since Barack Obama won the USA presidency in November. As he readies for his inauguration in January 20th, it’s not the American people alone who are optimistic about how the Obama Presidency will look like. In the Arab World, the president-elect is viewed as a moderate who is likely to take a neutral diplomatic approach on the Middle East Crisis like handling the war on terror and the conflict between the Israelites and Palestinians. The sobriety by many Middle Eastern Countries towards the president-elect is a positive sign on the path for peace as well as mending the brittle bridges between America and the Arab World. If he employs a multilateral approach; a reversal of outgoing president, George W. Bush, Obama’s foreign policy is likely to succeed in the Middle East . He has the goodwill to bring lasting peace between Palestinians and Isrealis; a mission that has been elusive for many USA presidents. In the ancestral land for Obama’s father Kenya , and the whole of Africa , there are high hopes that the he will boost bilateral relationship between African Countries to catapult economic growth. Many European Countries are not left out. They believe that the Obama leadership will resuscitate the dented USA and European relations caused by President George Bush’s foreign policies especially his unilateralism in the war on terror. New brooms sweep clean but don’t sweep all corners. It’s normal to expect goofs from Obama’s presidency especially in the first one year because of the huge challenges a head of him in the foreign and domestic fronts. However, it looks Mr. Obama is focused in his agenda for the American people and the World. Encouragingly, during his acceptance speech, he acknowledged the fact that fixing America ’s present problems especially the reeling economy is not going to be done overnight. This is a positive gesture to prepare the citizens psychologically instead of giving them false hopes. African leaders who are fond of giving false promises especially during campaigns should emulate this style. They should speak the truth about the challenges they are likely to encounter after being voted into office rather that promising to fix things overnight. By putting racial stereotypes a side to elect Obama, the American people did the World proud. It’s a wake up call for all continents to embrace racial harmony and accommodate all people irrespective of their race as a sure yardstick for positive co-existence. Whether it’s South Africans against fellows Africans, Americans against Latinos, Israelis and against Palestinians or Europeans against African and Yugoslavia immigrants, racial bigotry and xenophobia must be brought to an end in the world. Indeed, the biggest challenge remains on Africa , the ancestral home for Obama’s father to end ethnic hatred which is the cause of civil strife, violence, dictatorship, poor distribution of resources and corruption. In Kenya , we need to shoo away tribalism by accommodating diversity in national leadership. We belong to one nation and tribal chauvinism won’t take us anywhere. If white Americans can vote for a man of African ancestry, how come we continue to shroud ourselves in tribal leanings; always wanting to front men and women from our communities for national leadership even when they have no leadership qualities? We must begin to take our position and prove to the world that the men and women we support for national leadership have outstanding qualities and talents, irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds. This is the surest way that we can be respected in the global arena. Four years down the road, Obama must prepare to do something all American presidents have tried and failed or have never tried. This is the best gift he can offer the global community because of the goodwill he enjoys. In America , African Americans must rise above petty racial leanings and begin to be a part of the mainstream American society. Obama has shown them the way to the top through hard work, and an unwavering focus centred on hope. The celebrations we saw all over the World on Obama’s victory was a true reflection on diversity and global interdependence. Rich or poor, all nations of the world need each other. Obama’s presidency should catalyse the global community to inculcate friendship, compassion, justice and fraternity for mankind. Joseph Lister Nyaringo
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