Obama Sitting On The Wall


Whilst we in Europe have been excluded from behind the scenes meetings between our leaders trying to get their act together and agree who should get what job, electorates elsewhere are also wondering what the hell’s going on with their leaders too.

President Obama has been sight-seeing on the Great Wall of China and has had to admit that no great deals are likely to come out of his summit with Mr. Hu, the Chinese President. Apparently America is collectively wondering about their shiny new president already and hoping that he is not going to disappoint because they want him to come out with loads of instant miracles. The Health reform legislation is going slowly but, if he manages to get it through, then the USA has every reason to feel satisfied and, just maybe, they should let him take his time over other things too.

He is being criticised because he has taken so long to come out with his policy on Afghanistan – come on Barrack, I hear people saying, make your mind up and get our boys back from the front line. Just like dealing with China though, sometimes things cannot be done best in a rush.

Shouldn’t we take some satisfaction from the fact that he hasn’t done a George Bush and run hurtling into things which might just demand a bit more subtlety and finesse? He is obviously not just hanging around playing with his new dog on the White House lawn.

President Karzai, the dodgily elected Afghan President, at his inauguration is sounding as if American words are still ringing in his ears. In Pakistan, the much criticised President Asif Ali Zardari has been acting decisively with a great deal of military muscle against the Taleban threat inside his own nation after some early mistakes in thinking that he could tolerate a Taleban enclave at the heart of his Islamic Republic. His change of plan cannot have been entirely without the gentlest of pushes from the White House.

It is pretty obvious too that the American President and his generals are in deep discussion. Who knows but maybe, just maybe, there are some intelligent minds at work here and we might all live to see the day when Afghanistan does actually become a stable country, Taleban and Al Qaeda-free just as its giant nuclear neighbour may also rid itself of these same dangerous forces.

Better a little time spent on behind the scenes diplomacy and strategic thinking than a repeat of the brain-numbingly ill-thought through campaign in Iraq hurtled into by the previous American President with a little help from our own Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

So let’s give President Obama a break, he has one helluva lot of things to do and, if at the moment the best we can say is that he is being seen internationally as a reasonable, intelligent guy who is prepared to listen and think before acting then, maybe, the World might become just that little less divided.

Obviously though, he will have to act soon but let’s judge him on his decisions not on his caution.

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