December 29, 2008


America's 2009 world: change and continuity: The United States’s security policy under Barack Obama may be less of a departure from that of his predecessor than many hope. (Paul Rogers, 12/29/08, openDemocracy)

The Barack Obama administration which will take effect after the new United States president’s inauguration on 20 January 2009 looks likely to be very different to George W Bush’s in two major areas: economic policy and the environment. In its response to a great economic crisis, much of the programmes of public spending will be geared to infrastructural renovation, while the bailout of industries in trouble will be rigorous and demanding. In the area of environmental policy, the appointment of a notably science-literate team suggests a radical change of direction on climate change; this could include large-scale investment in renewable-energy projects underpinned by a clear recognition that this is one of the defining global issues of the 21st century.

In the area of national and international security, however, the Obama team as yet shows far fewer signs of innovative thinking. The actual formulation of policy may still be some way off, but the continuity both of rhetoric and of some personnel (such as the defence secretary, Robert M Gates) may be a foretaste of what is to come. Even on Iraq, there are indications that the process of withdrawal of American forces may not be speeded up, as was expected in the event of an Obama presidency; rather, the tasks of the substantial numbers of troops remaining may be redefined.

He wasn't kidding when he said, "The change is me." That's the only change he cares about.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 29, 2008 5:46 PM
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