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Electing Obama is Not Enough! | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In a speech last week, the US President told his audience that there were those that thought that electing “Barack Hussein Obama” was enough to solve the country’s problems. Obama himself must have thought at one moment or another that things would actually get easier the more distance he put between himself and his predecessor George Bush, but he has seen with his own eyes that things are becoming more difficult.

Less than twenty-four hours had passed after Obama made a statement warning that terrorists would target Europe when there was an attack in New York, followed by a Taliban statement claiming responsibility. To Obama’s good fortune the perpetrator [of the shooting spree in New York] was Vietnamese, and had personal motives for the attack, otherwise the Presidential honeymoon may have come to an end, and Obama would have been accused of being complacent on the threat of terrorism.

The problem is real and not a psychological one and evidence of this can be seen in that Obama has done many good things without seeing a result. He began his presidency by ordering the release of Muslim detainees from Guantanamo Bay and banned the military trials [of detainees], he made his first televised address as President to the Muslims, sent a message of reconciliation to Iran, and pledged to withdraw from Iraq sooner than George W. Bush had planned to. At the same time his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, announced that there no longer exists any such term as “war on terror” in US foreign policy. Yet despite all of this, violence has increased.

The vicious cycle of violence continues with regards to the Taliban and Al Qaeda, indeed the Taliban have stepped up their operations in spite of the public message from Washington on the possibility of reconciliation. Secret messages and media references have not succeeded [in bringing the Taliban to the table], and this issue is one that requires caution for it is likely that the Taliban are no different than Al Qaeda. Evidence of this can be seen in the principles of the Taliban which have not changed from forcibly preventing girls from receiving an education, and burning down their schools and murdering their teachers, not to mention banning music.

The Taliban agenda is one of local governing, unlike that of Al Qaeda, the international organization which has benefited from the modest ambitions of its ally, the Taliban, and which has attempted to infiltrate the entire world and destroy it.

I expect that Obama will return to the notorious Bush ethos, for he will have no other choice in the fight against Al Qaeda, confronting Iran, and confining North Korea.

I repeat that he will not find another option because these parties –despite all that Obama has achieved since coming to power – will never change their stance. For every step forward that Obama has taken, his opponents have challenged him saying that he has done so without receiving anything in return.

Tehran has announced – via more than one official – that by electing Obama, Washington has acknowledged its weakness in the face of Iran. Even the Taliban, who were not concerned with foreign affairs, have begun to undertake activities outside of the tribal areas.

Finally, in his speeches Obama has begun to mention something that Bush repeated, namely the three dangers; a nuclear Iran, the terrorist organization Al Qaeda, and North Korea. Obama will find that there is no escape from a return to widespread confrontation, politically, economically, and militarily.