Congratulations, Mr Obama. You have earned perhaps the hardest job in world at the moment, and you have a healthy majority of people believing you are up for it. I am one of them.
After the Cold War, the U.S. emerged as the world’s only superpower; the single most powerful force (in any respect) in the world. That this situation is gradually giving way to a multi-polar world with American influence waning is true to a degree. The rest of the world is rapidly catching up and increasingly playing along the rules which America invented. But the recent financial crisis has showed us that the need for a strong USA is as great as ever.
What the world needs is leadership from the leader of the world. Not callously wielded military might and arrogant attitudes. No, real leadership that reaches out and inspires. In John McCain’s loser speech he was very gracious and noble toward his opponent, but Obama obviously steals the show with his performance.
Obama’s victory speech nourishes the hope of many that he in fact can and will reach out. Toward the many different people that he mentions in his speech: “young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled”. He promises to enforce the ideal of America as a land of equal opportunities, regardless of race, colour, religion or sexuality.
Just as importantly, Obama reaches out to the world. A special mention of those in “forgotten corners of our world” (Australia might be one of them) is sympathetic, but also telling of the foreign policy to come. Of an American president who might finally realise that in order to win friends and influence people, it’s not a smart policy to be the class bully. Obama eloquently stated that “the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.”
What both the U.S. and the world needs now is a new vision and real change. No single person can do this alone. But Barack Obama might just be the man who can get the wheels into motion and help set the course for the world in this century.