Obama's America: A
New and Improved 'Hegemon'
"It will turn out that Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States - for better
or worse - is still the leader of the free world. A different leader, listening
to his partners, mellower, but at the same time, more demanding. He will expect
support from his partners, and they will no longer have any excuse ('that
horrible Bush') to refuse him."
By Marek Magierowski
Translated By Halszka Czarnocka
November 5, 2008
- Rzeczpospolita - Original Article (Polish)
Barack Obama, the new White
House tenant, will soon have to prove that rumors about the demise of the United
States have been grossly exaggerated.
Yes, the reputation of the United
States in the global arena has been seriously weakened during recent years. The
American economy has lost the aura of being the most resilient and the liberal.
And the presidency of George W. Bush can hardly be classified as successful (although
it will probably be judged better by history than leftist commentators now assess).
But all this doesn't mean,
however, that the times of Yankee hegemony are over. Under the new president's
leadership, it will still be hegemony … just of another kind.
As Bill Clinton used to say,
the United States is the “indispensable country.” Some Europeans may be irritated
by its haughtiness, arrogance, pride in its military and lack of understanding of
other cultures, but no important problem in the world can be solved without its
participation. You cannot wage a war on global terrorism without America. You
cannot bar North Korea and Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons without it.
Without Washington’s support, no one would be able to contain the dangerous
expansion of Russia. And finally, without America, without her money, universities,
ambitious scientists and stubborn businessmen, the progress of civilization would
[Het Parool, The Netherlands]
The problem is that this same
America has lost its credibility in recent years. People from Lisbon to Karachi
stopped believing in its good intentions and George W. Bush, unfortunately, has
a lot to do with that. But Barack Obama now has such a huge capital of trust that
he should quickly be able to rebuild its credibility. A few gestures will be
enough. A withdrawal from Iraq within a reasonable time and on reasonable terms
could be one of them. Another would be closing the infamous Guantanamo prison
and forbidding the use of torture on terror suspects. It would also be good to
improve the planning of operations in Afghanistan, so as to efficiently
prosecute the real criminals rather than bomb wedding guests. A few laudatory
words about Europe's geopolitical role and the fight against global warming
wouldn’t hurt, either.
And then all critics of
America will have hard nut to crack. It will turn out that Barack Obama, the 44th
president of the United States - for better or worse - is still the leader of
the free world. A different leader, listening to his partners, mellower, but at
the same time, more demanding. He will expect support from his partners, and
they will no longer have any excuse (“that horrible Bush”) to refuse him.
The hegemon will remain. It
is the world that will have to adapt to new circumstances.
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WORLDMEETS.US November 5, 5:59pm]