By Adeola Akinremi,, adeola.akinremi@thisdaylive. com
It is a mixed feeling in Washington. America’s first black President, Barack Obama, who came to power eight years ago will exit the stage today leaving America in care of the new President, Donald Trump, and the Republican Party.
Naturally, it is thumb up for Obama, who ran through the tape with no scandal and an approval rating higher than any other American president in decades.
In that thumb however, there is a pain. The post-racial America promise that came with his election in 2008, on the back of the cultural significance of a black man in the White House did not end the work of civil rights movement on racism afterwards.
“After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America,” Obama said. “And such a vision, however well-intended, was never realistic. Race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society.”
Outside that, Obama’s entry to the White House exactly eight years ago became an era of restoration for America and dialogue diplomacy.
The significance is not lost on Americans whose auto industry was saved from extinction by Obama. Those who recovered from the tremor of stock market and those who got their job and houses back in eight years will be grateful they had Obama in the White House.
In broad strokes, the contentious Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act often called Obamacare will remain a reference point for a lifetime, though the stones being hauled at it by the Republicans at Capitol Hill.
With the Act, Obama reformed the health insurance for ordinary Americans, brought change to health care and gave hope to many who have resigned to fate in the face of medical challenges.
Gray and grizzled, Obama is gutsy and nowhere could we see that other than in his crossover to Havana for a handshake with the Castros. It marked a turning point in America’s relationship with Cuba. The dialogue initiated with Cuba by Obama as first American president to visit the country in nearly a century was observed as changes in American politics by those with clear knowledge of international relations.
United States Secretary of State, John Kerry’s words when he addressed diplomats in Cuba were pointers “We are separated by 90 miles of water, but are brought together through shared relationships and the desire to promote a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba. President Obama is taking action to cut loose the anchor of failed policies of the past, and to chart a new course in U.S. relations with Cuba,” Kerry said.
But the White House that Obama leaves behind today will be different going forward. The new world order has started the moment Donald Trump walked the alleys of Pennsylvania Avenue—as common with new US presidents—to officially announce his arrival in the White House.
Already, the world is no longer at ease. From Germany to China; European Union to African Union and NATO to UN, the only country and president with some steadiness appears to be Russia and Vladimir Putin.
The unpredictability nature of Trump is making the diplomatic circle nervous and business leaders fret.
In a let “shake the rust off America’s foreign policy,” speech he made in April 2016, well before he picked the ticket to run on the platform of the Republican Party, Trump left no one in confusion as to the direction of his foreign policy—America first. He has repeated it time and again, but it is what Obama subtly described as “fascism and tyranny.”
“My foreign policy will always put the interests of the American people and American security above all else. It has to be first. Has to be. That will be the foundation of every single decision that I will make,” Trump has said.
Trump’s anger against NATO will definitely make Russia flex military muscle in Europe. Russia’s aggressive rhetoric and action that go well beyond Ukriane will be expanded the moment Trump carries out its threat against NATO. He already called the 28-bloc alliance “obsolete.”
But Vice President Joe Biden’s parting words for Trump and Putin places the new world order firmly in its place. It is a world where fear and military might will have much presence than dialogue and compromise.
For that, Biden told world leaders who gathered in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum this week to save “democratic world order” from “destructive force.”
“Simply put, Putin has a different vision of the future,” the America’s vice president warned.
Understandably, the time of uncertainty will definitely have its impact on economic outlook of nations and China has responded to Trump as well.
China’s leader, Xi Jinping’s impassioned speech laced with Chinese proverbs is a signal to how Chinese will react. “No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war,” Xi Jinping said to the world leaders at Davos. “Pursuing protectionism is just like locking one’s self in a dark room: wind and rain might be kept outside but so are light and air
“We should not develop a habit of retreating to the harbour whenever we encounter a storm, for this will never get us to the other side of the ocean.
“Any attempts to cut off flows … and channel the waters of the ocean back into lakes and creeks is simply not possible and runs against historical trends.”
I hope President Trump listens.
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