What Obama can do for you
Barack Obama is the first African-American president in US history. But what
does he have in store for you, me and the Arab world?
November 5, 2008 7:01 by kippreport
The War on Terror
Significantly, neither the sections on foreign policy nor Iraq on Obama’s website mention the war on terror. Perhaps that’s because the American public have had enough of Bush’s expensive and seemingly never ending wars. The new president’s plan is to remove the US military from Iraq “responsibly”: “Removal of our troops will be responsible and phased, directed by military commanders on the ground and done in consultation with the Iraqi government,”states the website. He expects all troops to be removed by the summer of 2010.
Some speculate that the removal of US troops from Iraq may spark a civil war in the troubled nation. But speculators have often been wrong about Iraq.
Perceptions of Arabs
Having been called an Arab himself, perhaps Obama may sympathize with Arabs and the bad rep they’ve had for decades. And while his foreign policies clearly favor Israel, that doesn’t mean that he’s opposed to dealing with Arabs.
As for changing the perception of Arabs and Muslims in the US, it’s important to remember that a man who has been called a “Muslim” and an “Arab” by his opponents as cheap attempts to smear his name is now president of the world’s superpower. Clearly a majority of voters were unfazed by the smear attempts. But what isn’t clear is whether these very people are convinced that even if Obama were Muslim and Arab that he’d still be decent and good (read James Zogby’s response to McCain’s gibe at Arabs).Furthermore, it is likely that with Obama’s family history (which includes Muslims), his approach to the Arab world and its religion may be more diplomatic than his predecessors’.
Finally, predicting whether president Obama will be good to this region and Arabs in general before he’s even taken office is difficult. But if the polls around the Middle East prove to be correct, most Arabs are rejoicing Obama’s big win.
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