An era has ended with Obama’s inauguration but as much as his campaign played on the theme of change, most of the change will be cosmetic. Obama will certainly put an end to the Bush Doctrine, colloquially known as “fuck you” diplomacy. He will restore America’s image abroad to that of its pre-Bush years which means that he will restore the vail over the most flagrant abuses of power like Guantanamo and domestic wiretapping. Because Bush didn’t invent these abuses, Obama will not end them. Where Bush put them on display, Obama will put them back in the closet. Obama will restore the gravitas and professionalism Americans typically associate with the Office of the President of the United States of America. These changes will have the greatest impact on like minded western nations like the G8 and Australia.
There are many areas where Obama and his cabinet will affect little change however. These issues were not even in contention during his election. Some of these include:
- the United States’ unconditional support for Israel
- the military industrial congressional complex
- the war on drugs
- universal healthcare
- China’s most favored nation trading status
- participation in the WTO, IMF and World Bank
The future is never certain and there is always hope that circumstances could provide catalists where none currently exist today. Obama, unlike Bush and even those before back to and including Reagan, has the potential much like FDR did to enact significant, progressive and lasting change for the benefit of most Americans.
Let us celebrate the ability to hope again.