Obama and a World of Expectations
Ali Asghar Kazemi
January 23, 2009
We live in an age no prophet ever predicted. Our present world is under constant changes affecting the form and substance of our life. Changes usually bring expectations whose lack of fulfillment may induce desolation.
There is no doubt that leadership change in the United States affects many aspects of world affairs. Since, this country besides huge wealth and power assumes worldwide missions and generates more than 25% of the world production. Therefore, Obama as the new US President will have to face not only with a host of problems inherited from George Bush but also has to respond to huge and widespread expectations created around the world.
What are the prospects of this historic change in the Middle East? What should we anticipate from this change in Iran? How the Islamic regime should act in order to take advantage from this rare opportunity?
Indeed, Obama’s election as the President of the United States has raised the expectations of not only the American people but the whole world about prosperity, peace and security. But, as he warned in his first speech after election, “the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime, two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.” In fact, the troubles that Obama inherits from his predecessors are so profound and complex which go beyond the capacity and power of this young leader and his fellow democrats.
First of all, we should not anticipate much from this change at least in this part of world where we live in i.e. the Middle East. We should recognize that change in “agency” will not necessarily bring about change in “structure.” This means that Barack Obama is before anything the president of the United States and is duty bound to protect American national and world interests. This process may eventually work to the detriment of other rivals or opponents.
Though President Obama did not speak explicitly about Iran in his inaugural speech on January 20th 2009, in his broad observation with respect to the use of force to promote American interests, he said:
“As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals…. America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more. “Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.”
He further recognized that “…. power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use. Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.”
With regard to the American entanglement in Iraq and Afghanistan Obama kept his promises during the presidential campaign by emphasizing that America guided by the principles and legacy of its founding fathers “….can meet…new threats that demand even greater effort, even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We'll begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard- earned peace in Afghanistan.”
Referring to the nuclear challenges ahead, he assured that the United States will work tirelessly “with old friends and former foes… to lessen the nuclear threat ….” He further warned: “those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that, "Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you. For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.”
As to American relations with the Muslim world, he noted that the United States will “… seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.” But, at the same time he warned:
“To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”
Indeed, these words reverberate not only fundamental American ideals but also a realistic grasp of prevalent world malaises that inhibit the establishment of a just and durable peace.
President Obama seems to be receptive to all advises coming from personalities and institutions experienced in their fields of specialties. One such institution is the “Bipartisan Policy Center” which has recently released a “Comprehensive Report on Iran.”
The report titled: Meeting the Challenge: U.S. Policy Toward Iranian Nuclear Development, considering a nuclear weapons-capable Iran "strategically untenable,” argues that it "may pose the most significant threat to the United States during the new Obama administration. It further argues "The stakes are enormous…They involve not only U.S. national security, but also regional peace and stability, energy security, the efficacy of multilateralism, and the preservation of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty regime."
The Task Force sponsored by the US National Security Initiative also found that Iran's nuclear program cannot be adequately safeguarded by the international inspections regime as currently designed. Furthermore, "It would be technically possible," once Iran has developed a sufficient feedstock of low-enriched uranium, for it to "enrich 20 kilograms of highly enriched uranium--the minimum necessary for a nuclear device--in four weeks or less."
This whole development and observations bear good witness to our earlier contention that the new US democrat administration under Obama is much more serious to counter the perceived challenge posed by Iran’s nuclear undertaking. Backed by a strong support, Obama is likely to use all means at hand to stop the Islamic regime’s quest to become a nuclear actor.
Based on the above facts, Islamic hard-liners in Tehran shall act cautiously in their future moves and are advised to be prudent in dealing with the new democrat administration if they are sincerely committed to stability and security in the Middle East as well as peace and prosperity for Iran./