Since Barrack Obama was elected, it’s been almost criminal to be pessimistic or question whether he is going to make a radical change in America. The mainstream media is, as usual, largely responsible for this just as before the invasion of Iraq when it made it virtually insane to question whether the invasion was immoral or illegal. Added to Obama’s obvious talent as a speaker, his intelligence and the fact that he’s the USA’s first black president, it’s easy to understand why there’s a lot of hope and expectation.
Whether Obama will make a difference depends on how high your standards are. If you compare him to one of America’s most notable black heroes like Martin Luther King for example, then Obama will undoubtedly disappoint. King spoke out against the immorality of the war in Vietnam, and state terrorism in general, in a way that Obama wouldn’t even dare in Iraq. King demanded an immediate withdrawal of troops from Vietnam. In contrast, when questioned on Iraq, Obama will invariably be evasive saying that he will consult his Chief of Staff and Commanders on the front-line as he did on 60 minutes a few days ago. He would never even dream of saying that the invasion was illegal – which is a simple fact based on international law – let alone immoral. On Israel, he’s now silent on the Palestinian cause despite criticizing Israeli occupation of Palestinian land when he was a senator in Chicago.
If however you measure Obama against someone like Bill Clinton then you’ll probably be delighted with what’s in store. Just as George Bush filled his administration with leftover Republicans from the last Republican government (and even Reagan administration) it seems Obama is doing the same with his new government. Unbelievably, it’s rumoured that he’s going to offer the Secretary of State job to Hillary Clinton which surely shows a hugely disappointing lack of imagination and a worrying sign of what to expect from Obama. Whats more, he has confirmed that even Republicans will make it into his administration with candidates rumoured to be Colin Powell and yes, John McCain. Is this proof not, if proof need be, that the Democrats and Republicans are so ideologically similar, it’s a farce to call it a democratic election?
It has to be remembered that whoever Obama appoints, any kind of rollback to the Clinton years would not be a “step-forward” for America. It would be a modest improvement on the mess America is already in but it would take a lunatic not be able to achieve that. How successful you regard Obama will depend on where your standards lie.