One hundred days may be too short a time in a four-year tenure. But it can be a standard by which the efficiency and wisdom of the president can be judged. It is a start, for the initial proceedings often set the tone for the years to come.
And Obama has acted well, instead of basking in the relief of taking over the White House. For him to perform better than his predecessor in the international arena has been easy. Former President George W Bush’s tenure was hardly successful. The same can be said internally, too, but there Obama has been faced with the enormous task of pulling his country out of the quagmire it has plunged into.
Obama’s statement on day one — to close the Guantánamo prison — was welcomed the world over, and he is working towards its closure. A few days later, his much-anticipated position on Iraq was revealed when he disclosed plans for troop withdrawal. The world, once again, received the news with enthusiasm. His meetings in Turkey, Europe, Trinidad and Tobago were equally successful, with the exception of his urging the European Union to accept Turkey as a member.
An olive branch has been extended to the Middle East, too. Being well aware of the centrality of the Palestinian crisis in the region and realising that the US is an indispensable player here, he has called for peace and stability by endorsing the two-state solution — a clear departure from the US position up to now. Years of isolation with Syria have been reversed, and more troops have being deployed in Afghanistan to battle the resurgent Taleban. His initiative of improving relations with South America by lifting decades-old ban in Cuba is another feather in his cap.
The landmark of the hundred days is his quick and bold stand on disarmament. Following his meeting with his Russian counterpart earlier this month, the two presidents issued a statement reaffirming “that the era when our countries viewed each other as enemies is long over….” They also pledged to work together and “demonstrate leadership in reducing the number of nuclear weapons in the world.” This, along with troop reduction in Iraq, goes well for Obama within America. At a time when the average American is concerned about getting a job, health care and paying his mortgage, spending billions and billions on arms and selling them to countries that use them in endless conflicts is not the answer. Also, maintaining over 700 military bases in a hundred countries is an expensive deal. Obama would do well by moving the US out of the war business. Detoxing America of weapons would mean focusing on education, health care and improving the lot of the Americans, thus making the American Dream a reality all over again.
His message of hope and change inspired people across continents and his image as a family man has made him an endearing President, or rather a people’s President. Now the time has come for him to practice what he has preached. And in all probability, he will!
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