For many, the answer was Obama. Not only was he an icon for the Americans, but he was also an inspiration and a ray of hope for many around the world. Not only did he promise to bring change, but he also defined it. The president of the strongest, or at least the most influential, country in the world, was finally looking like a good thing... for everyone.
But just like George Bush's war on Iraq, Obama's campaign of change was based on artificial manifestos. Where thousands wanted an end to the Afghanistan war, Obama increased war efforts in Afghanistan, increasing money spent on the war and thus increasing America's debt.
Drone attacks have increased since George Bush left, and one has to think at this point, if the prior president of the United States made a claim to shame, following in his footsteps would surely be a mistake. Not only is Obama surpassing his predecessor in his act, but he completely changed the mantra he had once preached to gain presidency. Transparency and the voice of the people is muffled behind secret prerogatives and war has spread from Afghanistan to Libya, Yemen and Somalia. The presence of special U.S. forces has expanded from 60 to 75 countries, and all this is behind the banner of fighting terrorist organizations that are a threat to the American freedom. The continuous violence propagated in the name of protecting civilians, has resulted in countless innocent deaths outside the U.S. border.
But all of this is not the reason for my rant. My frustration with Obama being perceived as a doer of good has come from his recent visit to Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. With Israel advancing its efforts to set up illegal settlements in Palestinian land, which has been recognized as an independent state by the U.N., Obama continues to act as a mediator that has the best interest of both parties in mind, when this is clearly not the case. In a recent article on CNN, Obama came forth with a bold statement in support of Palestinian rights and freedom. He urged young Israeli's to demand change from their government so that peace between the two countries could be achieved. But then in the same visit, he advised Palestinians to drop the precondition of having the settlements stop completely before any peace talks could begin. He stated, "If the expectation is that we can only have direct negotiations when everything is settled ahead of time, then there is no point for negotiations."
Why not? If America can use 9/11 as the main reason for its campaign against terrorism and take extreme measures to ensure its safety, then why can't the Palestinians who have been oppressed for 40 years, demand that their land, or what's left of it, be left alone? What is acceptable for one country, is not acceptable for another? Why do we continue to live in a social paradigm that reflects the mistakes of the past? Continuing to appease a group at the expense of another.. sounds familiar? Without outright change and adherence to responsibility, the President of the U.S. will continue to face criticism from me and others who see beyond the facade. Without fulfilling the promise of change, none will come on its own.
Please feel free to add your thoughts of what Obama is doing right or wrong. I would love to hear both sides.