One year on


1. It's been a long, long first year, and so many thought it would bring every change any one could believe of. The reality is far more harsh than our desires. Thinking that President Obama could in only twelve months deliver what he promised is a sign of misjudgement and non-understanding of reality and american politics.

The Obama Administration came into office a year ago with an agenda, bold and shape-shifting, built for four years of work. The setbacks found on the way cannot be taken only as White House mistakes, never forget the heavy bad legacy left by the previous administration, and a ferocious opposition from the Republican Party (the "NO" party). The Health reform stands as a big example - of change and confrontation. The closing of Guantanamo prison unfolded much more legal implications and complications than antecipated. The wars weigh too much and are, in a complex foreign and security strategy, too dangerous to ignore so that is why time for good thinking was essential. Economics as a basehold came so low in this recession that fixing this huge problem only brings results in much more than just a year.

The president of the US is not all-mighty - the Founding Fathers wrote an innovative Constitution that makes the political system based on checks and balances. Whatever he decides must come before the Senate and the Representatives for discussion and approval (or repproval), for they are also elected "by the people for the people". This was done to avoid nepotism of a ruling leader, and to assure the best interests of the nation. Obama is a president of a democratic country and is accountable for every action and measure he takes every step of the way.
However, the past eight years has shown that despite all the legality of the political process, a wrong and erratic path was made. But the United States is a democracy in function and the people's judgement brought that to an end by electing a new way of thinking and acting in behalf of solid principles of law and justice, of truth and change, of hope and happiness.

President Obama became such a brand that for many he became a messiah, to others almost a demon. Every time in american elections, the United States is in fact a divided politcal nation. They are either conservatives or liberals, with considerable independents in between, and whoever holds the highest office of the land, it's obvious that not everyone stands for him. The point is that this time the new president gave so much hope to independents, democrats and not so few republicans, to europeans and to the rest of the world that many may have got blind. The high expectations crossed the entire planet, but believing that in one year alone we could forget a past inherited by a decade lost in fear and war is, to say the least, naive.
As President Obama himself said "the US cannot fix all the problems of the world". He is a man, with high political power and status yes, but does not reign over us. Believing he could move mountains is fantasy. In his visit to Istambul past June, meeting with turkish students, he accuratly defined a country that when moving towards change it's like an oil tanker that can only do so slowly because of its weight, its structure, its difficulties - it takes time.

2. But in one year much has been accomplished. New legislation (Edward Kennedy Serve Act, Credit Card Accountability, Equality job laws), crucial reform policies (health, economy), a new light and attitude towards the true spirit of the country, a new and open foreign policy based on trust and principles. All of this brought the world back to the US, and them back into the world. The Obama brand has rebranded America.

The Middle East Peace Process has been stalled by Israel, as I foreseen with Netanhayu as leader, but also by the lack of influence by the US (again the jewish and military lobbies?) and a non-understandable "special envoy" called Tony Blair. Iran poses a growing threat, but is it at the brink of a new revolution? North Korea is a potential danger even to China.
What I most feel as a deception is the US role with its commitment to worth working environmental policies. Obama has become himself "hostage" by the american energetic industry and with less environmental laws than Europe. And at the Copenhagen Summit, the last-minute agreement only showed in the open the true face of China's imprudent and despotic self-interest, putting on hold the entire world.
The 'Afpak' and Iraq wars has made him a paradoxal war-for-peace leader. Ending them is crucial for security and stability, development and economy, peace and prosperity that everyone needs and wants.

3. The promised change must be understood as a means to do things right, even if it takes more time than expected; it must be valued as a chance for everyone to make it within themselves. The speeches at Prague, Cairo, Istambul and Ghana pose as new chapters of this symbolic change.
And that goes to politicians too - if they cannot feel the need to change, despite the views and differences that everyone has the ability and right to have, then not much can be achieved.

The world has changed so much and we must understand it better and know how to work with the many challenges and new players envolved. This says much for internal politics as to foreign politics. But the will of one ends when the other says no.
Barack Obama holds the US presidency at extraordinary times. And he is the best man for the job. As ever, with pragmatism that defines him so well, he - and his team - will do the best they can. Not everyone will agree with him all the time (supporters and others), not even me.
I still believe in him.