Saturday, December 13, 2008

Can a U.S. President Save the World?

It wouldn't have seemed possible until we saw George W. Bush almost destroy the world. If one American president can cause so much chaos, then another can bring just as much resolution to the world's problems.

It is not so much that Obama is so special (although he is quite remarkable)... it is what he represents... it is what we as the American populace has become. The presidency is a mirror of the nation. If we elected Barack Obama it is because we are ready for his type of leadership.

As many have said. Thank you George W. Bush for your terrible presidency. Without the mess you created, we might not have been as open to someone like Obama.


Wanted: A New U.S. Grand Strategy
by Fareed Zakaria
Washington Post
December 13, 2008

Barack Obama's campaign for president began with his opposition to the war in Iraq. But before last week's terror attacks in India, the subject of foreign policy had disappeared, almost completely overshadowed by the economic crisis.

This doesn't mean that international issues will be ignored. No doubt the national security team Obama is announcing this week will be quick to tackle the many issues in their inbox, and will likely do so with intelligence and competence. There are enough problems to occupy them fully -- Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, al-Qaeda, Iran, Russia -- and they will face unexpected crises like the Mumbai assaults.

But we must hope that as president, Obama does more than select a good team, delegate well and react intelligently to the problems that he will confront. He must have his administration build a broader framework through which to view the world and America's relations with it -- a grand strategy.

At this moment, the United States has a unique opportunity to push forward a vision that aligns its interests and ideals with those of most of the world's major powers. But it is a fleeting opportunity. Grand strategy sounds like an abstract concept--something academics discuss -- and one that bears little relationship to urgent, jarring events on the ground. But in the absence of strategy, any administration will be driven by the news, reacting rather than leading. For a superpower that has global interests and is forced to respond to virtually every problem, it's all too easy for the urgent to drive out the important...

President-elect Obama has powers of his own... I will not exaggerate the importance of a single personality, but Obama has become a global symbol like none I can recall in my lifetime. Were he to go to Tehran, for example, he would probably draw a crowd of millions, far larger than any mullah could dream of. Were his administration to demonstrate in its day-to-day conduct a genuine understanding of other countries' perspectives and empathy for the aspirations of people around the world, it could change America's reputation in lasting ways.

This is a rare moment in history. A more responsive America, better attuned to the rest of the world, could help create a new set of ideas and institutions -- an architecture of peace for the 21st century that would bring stability, prosperity and dignity to the lives of billions of people. Ten years from now, the world will have moved on; the rising powers will have become unwilling to accept an agenda conceived in Washington or London or Brussels. But at this time and for this man, there is a unique opportunity to use American power to reshape the world. This is his moment. He should seize it.

Posted by Fareed Zakaria on December 1, 2008 12:14 PM

link to complete article

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You forget that we already had a president who saved the world: John F. Kennedy, in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Unfortunately, history only cares about wars that were won, not wars that were avoided.