When Obama first announced his candidacy back in 07′, I thought of him as as another fringe candidate similar to Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. I was not roused by speeches. Was always suspicious of people proposing grandiose ideas, with little experience to show for. Though I knew Hillary was of Machiavellian type, I still liked her experience. I was even open to McCain’s candidacy. A vietnam war vet willing to reach across aisle.
A light-skinned candidate candidate with a name like Colin Powell for the presidency seems plausible, but a black man named Barack Hussein Obama? I doubted it. His name vaguely linked to both American war fronts. Obama rhymes with Osama (Afghan war). His middle name Hussein rhymes with hussain ( Iraq war) . Against my intense disbelief, Americans embraced him. It shows how far the country moved from Bush’s Parochial tunnel vision.
When Obama was unable to confirm many of his cabinet nominees, I was very gleefull. A stumbling president with an inexperienced team ! I cheered when President Obama and his newly made-over-fancyboots wife made asses of themselves in Copenhagen while attempting to wheedle the Europeans into granting Chicago the 2016 Olympics. And I gnashed my teeth when the Nobel Prize Committee decided to fete Obama with the Peace Prize. I thought the renowned noble committee selected an elitist socialist whose policy is all smoke mirrors ! To sum it all up, I was an Obama-Rejectionist .
But as the past month’s events show, I have been very wrong. I will tell you why.
Obama has always called Iraq war an unjust war and Afghan war the right war. Obama not let the Nobel peace prize announcement sway his resolve. He made the right decision to send 30,000 troops to finish this war. Some bicker the man has not done anything. I say the Nobel goes for the man and his word.
He made China,India,Russia vote on UN motion against Iran . A first of it’s kind EVER! His China visit handsomely paid off. And so did his gesture of arranging first white house state dinner in honor of Indian prime minister. He also successfully lobbied India and China for climate change pacts. By scrapping missile shield in Poland, he mend fences with Russia.
Same thing goes for healthcare bill. He was open to compromise on controversial topics like paid abortions, public option, etc. But the bill preserved the most important aspects. A better health coverage for uninsured and pilot projects to understand spiraling healthcare costs. Obama once again showed character when he didn’t cave in to the black caucus that were onto him ever since he got elected. A group sometimes known to prefer equality of result over equality of opportunity!
Finally, he had the courage and decency to call Pakistan’s bluff – a issue very dear to all Indians. The age-old nexus between Pakistan’s intelligence/military and terrorists. This issue had been repeatedly dodged by 5 previous administrations (Bush Sr.,Clinton-2, Bush Jr.-2) . Also, Obama personally saw to it that FBI follow up with swift indictment of David Headley( a.k.a Dawood Geelani) .
When the noble prize awarding ceremony came, instead of disposing of troop surge in a perfunctory gesture, he made it the basis of his address, devoting the first half of the speech to what he called the challenge of “reconciling these two seemingly irreconcilable truths—that war is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly.”
Working out apparent contradictions, reconciling irreconcilables, finding balances, living with paradox—these are the intellectual bread and butter of Obama’s politics. I am happy that Gandhi didn’t get this prize. By his support of the Khilafat movement, Gandhi was disregarding the national rights of the Ottoman subject peoples and especially those of the Armenians. In Oslo, Obama was in effect calling the bluff of purists on both the right and the left.
As I pitch tent in a different quarter, I want all my friends/family know that I’ve not been smoking any fancy weed 😉 . I have deeply changed my opinion of Obama. What the President has is a sophisticated theology, an anti-utopian belief that human imperfection is inevitable but progress is possible if human beings remain self-critical about what they can achieve! Obama has evolved as a leader over the years. What a welcome relief from go-for-broke attitude of his predecessor. The difference betwen Obama’s address to German people last summer and his latest speech at Oslo shows an adaptable person and a man ready to raise to the occasion. By all accounts, Obama is a well-grounded, decent, thoughtful man. He comes across, in his person and manner, as nonpartisan. A bonafide statesman when the world needs him most.
So Jolie I am not with you on the hating Obama part! I am more than certain that Obama has not forgotten Darfur nor has he moved on! He would (in time) bring justice to Sudanese people.
I think it’s best for us to sit together for coffee and reconcile our differences 😉
I know ‘ve been wishing way too much lately but just one for the upcoming new year. Can we be blessed with a leader at least half as good a Obama, in India. Some one who is a pragmatic idealist, one who doesn’t need to suck up to a foreign born Italian woman. An able man/woman with fire in the belly, and less than 70 years old! Is it too much to ask ?