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The Obama Magic...Gone - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Has the Barack Obama phenomenon come to an end, politically? This question is raised forcefully in political decision-making centers, universities, the media, and in the corridors of support for research and decision. Obama came to power in the White House after a clear popular victory, and amid unprecedented international satisfaction and support. He reached this status in the wake of the worst administration and the worst President in the history of the United States, unquestionably. He inherited two major wars, without clear orientation or objective, as well as the worst economic legacy, international wrath against his country’s foreign policy, and political division in the country’s political spectrum. The world was excited about Obama’s ideas and orientation (he is definitely more interesting and better than Bush, and his method is, no doubt, more humane, more reasonable, and wiser). The Muslims and the Arabs regarded as auspicious his historic speech in Cairo, and his insistence on the idea of a two-state solution to the issue of the war with Israel. However, Barack Obama was swamped by the turmoil caused by the crisis over the new health care program he is trying to drum up support for, by various means, without securing constitutional approval, even though the Democratic Party has a majority in Congress. In fact, the war waged against Obama by the Republican Party has frightened the American electors and made them hesitant about the President’s program that was one of his objectives during the electoral campaign.

With regard to peace in the Middle East, he is in a coma, amid the obduracy of the Israeli extremist side, which completely rejects a halt to the cancer-like settlement expansion and the idea of recognizing the right to a Palestinian state. This attitude is persisting without any American intervention to change the situation and deter the Israelis, making them change their position. The situation in Iraq and Afghanistan is getting worse, and the problems there are taking serious and worrying dimensions that will be solved neither by a rise in the number of troops nor by a withdrawal. In this regard, there are serious problems related to the political, security, and economic situation, which enable extremist groups to infiltrate the scene and cause unrest, as is the case now.

Obama, thus far, has not “realized” any of his objectives, and his supporters are clearly worried that his ability is purely rhetorical, and that he cannot turn the dazzling objectives he announced in his remarkable speeches into successful policies and legislation.

The points that people hold against Obama include the fact that he has burdened himself with a large number of impossible files. The latter are all complicated and require a great deal of work, concentration, and follow-up. Therefore, he will not be able to successfully deal with all files at the same time. This is why nothing has been achieved, because concentration is dispersed and the focus is on all the difficult files, simultaneously.

On the international level, Obama is now seen as a nice man who may be invited for a cup of coffee to enjoy a nice chat with him, as well as his nice personality, nothing more. According to many, he lacks the decisiveness, the strength, and the shrewdness that are required to realize major policies.

Obama’s tenure is now almost one year old and there is nothing that may be attributed to him or counted as an achievement on his part, except a range of resounding speeches and words.

There is enough time ahead for Obama to realize “something,” but he is urgently required to score small and rapid victories that will bring back hope and merit to an administration that came with mountains of hope and good faith. The disappointment of people in this administration is so painful to see, today!

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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