The majority of Americans wanted him as President, and the majority of the world wanted him to win too. When I was in Washington for the Inauguration, people wore t-shirts reading ‘Our moment is now’. But is the President making the most of that moment? He always emphasised to his supporters that they had a part to play, but while the right in the States makes its opposition very well known, are his advocates backing him as effectively and passionately as they might? Put simply, reverse the question – are Pres Obama’s supporters letting him down?
I heard a fascinating contribution from John Simpson, the BBC’s World Affairs editor, on the Today programme on Saturday. See if you agree with his analysis…
1. Can he take clear cut decisions?
2. Can he success in any of the key policy areas?
3. Is Pres Obama making America feel good about itself?
Gitmo – it’s going to close but there remains an issue with where those held will go. Did he anticipate getting more support on this?
Middle East – George Mitchell made little head way last week, and Israel continues to build settlements. But there are more talks this week. Has he lost authority or should we give him more time on this before drawing conclusions?
Missile defence shield – Pragmatic decision in America’s interests, or a naive use or a strong negotiating position with Russia?
Healthcare – I don’t really need to explain the challenges there. The opposition to his proposals could have been expected, but are his supporters pushing back hard enough? Pres Obama said over the weekend he’d been ‘humbled’ but the experience of getting his message across. Is that just a nice way of saying he hasn’t done it bvery well? Or is the problem that Americans understand and they don’t want it. In which case, was there a misunderstanding when Pres Obama offered change and they asked for it?
Iran – Pres Ahmedinijad’s in a US TV interview last week was not discernably different to when Goerge Bush was in office. Is President Obama’s position stronger for the
Afghanistan – Stillt o get sign off on the extra troops he wants to send. Not to mention, the original problem of defeating the Taliban.
Nuclear – more details emerging today about his commitment to reducing America’s nuclear arsenal. Another example of naive idealism, or this is the sort of visionary leadership the US and the world needs?