Time for a Different President

After 6.5 years of the Obama Presidency, Americans are growing weary of a lame duck President who is losing votes even from his own Party. Here I am referring to the recent defeat of a trade deal by Democratic Party Senators in the U.S. Senate, though the opposition Republican Party was more or less aligned with the President.

President Obama’s leadership and America’s leadership are under serious questioning both in the U.S. and the world stage. The U.S. has lost its authority – moral or otherwise – by stepping away from critical decisions which the world expected that it would take, own and execute. There is only one super power left in the world and it was apparent that it did not wish to do its job.

American leadership in world affairs has defined the second half of the twentieth century and also the first decade of the twenty first century – except for the serious and shameful debacle in the illegal war of Vietnam. While Presidents of the U.S. make serious mistake (like the Vietnam War and the Iraq War), in general they have performed a good role in keeping peace in the world (or the rest of the world). Further, they have let free market flourish in the U.S., driving technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, trade and economy. And, such a drive has resulted in what has become a strong, resilient economy which consumes goods from all over the world – thereby developing global trade and prosperity.

Under President Obama’s stewardship, a lot was expected by the people who elected him. I am not able to document all his successes (only a few) and many failures till date, but it is sad that President Obama has created a perception around the world of his lack of firm leadership. May be true, or may not be entirely true, however perception is the reality. One of his singular failures was his inability to take out the Syrian regime, which was systematically terminating its own citizens using chemical weapons. Where was the U.N. and where was the U.S. ? And where was the U.S. when a democratically elected leader was overthrown in Egypt ? And, what is the U.S. stance with respect to Ukraine ? How about China which is aggressively building out the Spratly Islands ? A firm U.S. position on world matters was expected and is found to be utterly lacking from the White House.

May be it is time for a different President to take charge, but that would take another year and a half. A new president will take charge only by January 2017, and by that time, the American power would have significantly waned around the world. That is my guess, and it is as good as any informed guess.

Let us see.


Vijay Srinivasan

16th May 2015


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