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Obama: long road ahead

By: Haider Nizamani, Canada

AN athlete is never awarded a gold medal in the Olympics simply because he has declared that he would finish first in the race. Giving the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama is akin to rewarding an athlete for his intentions.

Obama has to prove through his actions that the committee of Norwegian politicians who chose him for the 2009 Peace Prize weren’t terribly wrong in their judgment.

To this end he has some factors working in his favour. He enjoys an immensely positive image among US allies in Europe. The US image in Europe was battered by George W. Bush, who managed to thoroughly alienate America’s close allies from 2003 onwards. Obama usually says the right things at the right places. He chose Cairo in June to convey his goodwill message to the Muslim masses and launched the idea of a world free of nuclear weapons while addressing a huge public meeting in Prague in April. He is erudite and charmingly articulate. But these qualities would only be meaningful if they are augmented by concrete actions.Before pinning our hopes too high on Obama as the saviour of the world, let’s keep the following in mind as a reality check. First and foremost, he is the elected president of the world’s foremost military and economic power. But his is an executive position that is subject to multiple institutional powers and vested interests that can restrict his room to manoeuvre in global affairs.

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