News

    Political Experts Say Obama Faces Major Challenges

    The celebration of Barack Obama's election to the US presidency has died down and now the president-elect and his team begin to face the many choices that confront them as they prepare to assume office in January. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, political experts and foreign policy analysts say the new president will face some difficult challenges right from the start.

    One of the most obvious problems for President-elect Obama is that he will enter office facing problems left over by outgoing President George Bush. Those problems include a financial crisis, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the prospect of Iran developing a nuclear weapon and a number of other situations all of which demand immediate attention.

    Rice University Political Science professor Earl Black, co-author of the book Divided America, says new presidents have often had to deal with the problems left behind by their predecessor.

    "He will face the situation, for example, that faced Ronald Reagan when he became the Republican president in January, 1981," said Earl Black. "He will have inherited all the problems associated with the previous administration."

    Black says another problem for President-elect Obama may be the high expectations he has raised among the people who supported him.

    "Since a lot of Obama's message emphasized hope and change and, to a large degree he was somewhat general about those, he has attracted, obviously, millions of supporters not all of whom probably agree on what change they want and what hopes they are hoping to be satisfied," he said.

    Some of the biggest and most frightful challenges facing the new president will be in foreign affairs. Peter Zeihan, Vice President of Analysis for Stratfor, a Texas-based private intelligence and analysis company, says all presidents entering the White House find their options are limited. But, he says, President Obama will have some special problems to address.

    "First, you have Iraq," he said. "He has promised his supporters that he will pull out as soon and as quickly as possible. However, unless he wants to turn around and re-deploy and go to war with Iran a year or two later, he has to be careful in how he does that. There needs to be some sort of agreement with Iran over the future of Iraq. Barring that, if you just have a naked pullout, there is really absolutely nothing that would stop the Iranians from taking over, whether directly or indirectly."

    Such a move by Iran, Zeihan says, would endanger the Persian Gulf oil supplies and force a US response. Zeihan says the situation in Afghanistan and the refuge Taliban fighters have in nearby Pakistan will also challenge President Obama.

    "The way that Obama has outlined that he will make a difference in this conflict is by tapping Europeans and calling on NATO allies to do more," he said. "Well, as the Bush administration has discovered, much to its chagrin, the Europeans don't have the forces in the first place to deploy, second, are not willing, as a general rule, to deploy them in combat situations and third, because of the global finance crisis, most of them are pulling their forces home from Afghanistan."

    Zeihan says the new US president would risk provoking conflict with Pakistan if he sends US forces across the border from Afghanistan to pursue the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

    He says the third security problem the Obama administration will face internationally is the increasing boldness of Russia, which is aggressively countering US attempts to expand NATO in eastern Europe. Zeihan says these are just some of the challenges for the new president.

    "These are just the three security challenges, all of which, honestly, are more than enough to keep any president busy independently," said Zeihan. "All three together-Whew! I do not envy Obama. I would not have envied McCain, either."

    Zeihan says US options will be limited in the years ahead because the country is over extended militarily and financially.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora