Barack Obama, 44th US President: The Shadow Of Bush
There is a tremendous amount of high-flown proclamations and declarations about what the accession of Barack Obama will bring about; a lot of it is dewey-eyed and Disney-hued and thoroughly unrealistic. That said, I refuse to bow to the kind of reflex cynicism which passes for balanced realism among certain sections of the progressive left in what we may broadly call the West. It seems pretty certain that the passing of the Bush administration into history will open channels of compassionate reason which have been choked off for the last 8 years, and there’s a good chance that a certain degree of critical rationality will come to bear on the formation of policy.
What is absolutely certain is that Bush and Cheney and the whole gag-and-vomit neocon crew have so poisoned America and the world that the problems are indeed gargantuan. But there is one crucial undercurrent which the Bush years have introduced into how the world views America, and that is clear-eyed understanding of its foreign policy, the sway and ethos of its military and corporate sectors, leading to the widely-held opinion that America is not the leader of the free world. Given their record, who would seriously want Washington to be such a leader? The spell has been broken, finally and completely – perhaps there are still some holdouts, some unfortunates for whom the myths of America still cast their glamour but they are surely a small minority now.
It is time for America to face up to its financial near-bankruptcy and become what it should be, perhaps, first amongst equals; the USA comprises 5 percent of the world’s population, so the other 95 percent would now like a say in how the world progresses. Hopefully, Obama will recognise this and consign to history notions of manifest destiny and global hegemony.
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