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“Yes We Can” was the captivating slogan used by Barack Obama during his US presidential election campaign. This slogan allowed him to capture the hearts and minds of the voters, and gain widespread support across the globe. Many people became Barack Obama supports because of his ideas, and because they consider him to be a positive change from former President George W. Bush, whose term in office is considered to be one of the worst in US history, particularly in terms of international relations, whether to allied countries, or hostile ones.

Now that more than eight months have passed since Barack Obama took office, there are troublesome signs that indicate that the US President is unable to resolve a number of issues. Until now, President Obama has been unable to get the US Senate to confirm almost half of his policymaking appointees, meaning that Obama’s executive team is working at 50 percent capacity. Obama’s health care bill is another difficult problem. Despite having a [democratic] majority in Congress, Obama has failed to put an end to the controversy surrounding his health care plan and reassure the public and alleviate fear and doubt. There is also his economic plan, which despite early expectations, is showing extremely slow progress.

Obama is also facing a campaign by skeptics in the Republic party who are portraying him as a supporter of nationalization who is seeking to transform the US into a Socialist state. These skeptics are seemingly forgetting that the current global financial crisis would not have occurred were it not for the reckless and irresponsible actions of the former US administration and its inability to analyze the economic climate in a capable and intelligent manner.

There is also the issue of the Middle East. Obama repeatedly warned the Israelis of the “necessity and importance” of putting a halt to the construction of settlements in the occupied territories. However Israeli has refused to heed these calls, and continues to construct settlements. In fact, Israel brazenly announced new settlement projects and signed contractors to begin construction, all the while President Obama is unable to punish the Israelis or even make credible threats to punish tem.

Of course, any rational person is aware that the Palestinian issue is more than just putting a halt to Israeli settlement construction. There are millions of displaced persons who have been deprived of their lands, and there are tens of thousands of stolen hectares, as well as more than 11,000 [Palestinian] prisoners [in Israeli prisons], not to mention the series of daily crimes being committed by the Israel army against unarmed Palestinian citizens without any of these crimes receiving any serious reaction from the US administration.

A state of optimism towards President Obama still exists, and we are certain that this man is definitely far better than his predecessor (although this is not saying much, as anybody is better than George W. Bush). There is a great longing for Barack Obama to fulfill the promises he made with regard to policy and legislation.

There is talk that a peace plan will be announced by Obama soon, and that this plan includes Arab concessions to reassure Israel to the idea of peace with the Arabs. If this is the direction [that the peace plan will take] then unfortunately this will prove to be a great disappointment. Israel is the one that has rejected the idea of peace, both by its words and actions, and therefore the pressure should initially be on Israel [to make concessions].

Mr. President, “Yes You Can” impose the idea of peace upon Israel if you exercise your power as President of the United States and do not think about the forthcoming presidential elections. We will see!

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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