Needless to say, the question President-elect Obama has planned for the United States when he’s installed in the White House is exercising minds all over the world. Here The Guardian, in its Comment is free column got to the nub of the problem very quickly.
Does the world need a steady America or a radical America? A United States bent on the transformation of its foreign and economic policies, or a United States aiming more modestly to make good the institutions of government which the Bush administration damaged or disrupted? As Barack Obama‘s choices of cabinet members and advisers emerge, it looks more and more as if putting the American political system back on an even keel is his main purpose, and “steady as she goes” the motto he has in mind.
The Guardian, having explained why it thinks Obama has chosen a team more suited to the “steady as she goes” approach than a radical one, expresses the hope that Obama’s “special – and not yet fully revealed – vision which will guide this somewhat disparate and strong-headed team”.
We may hope that vision will turn out to be more expansive as his administration settles into power may gradually be replaced by Obama’s
Steve Fraser, on the other hand, unfavourably comparing what team Obama has now put together taken with team steps Franklin Delano Roosevelt put together when he was facing a similar crisis his Salon Opinion column today, does not believe faith in Obama’s vision is enough.
A suffocating political and intellectual provincialism has captured the new administration in embryo. Instead of embracing a sense of adventurousness, a readiness to break with the past so enthusiastically promoted during the campaign, Obama seems overcome with inhibitions and fears.
I think that many of us hope that Obama does have a vision that is different and can prevail, but it’s beginning to look as though he’s not the man we hoped he was.