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President Trump should continue from where Obama stops

EDITORIAL
By The Standard | January 20th 2017

 

The curtain falls on Barack Obama’s presidency today. He will be handing the instruments of power to President-elect Donald Trump. In recap, the election of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States of America on November 4, 2008 was a fulfilment of a 1963 prophesy by civil rights activist Martin Luther King junior in his famous “ I have a dream” speech delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.

That a black man would one day occupy the White House was the most improbable thing in the psyche of many Americans, including blacks. The black man went to America a slave and white supremacists expected him to retain that status in the scheme of things.

Obama’s election changed that perception, and with it, many other things. His presidency has been uplifting, not because he is a black man who beat the odds to become president, but because he possesses such charm and intellect, a unique leadership style, he has confounded both friend and foe. His re-election in 2012 when sceptics did not give him a chance proved his popularity.

Obama represented hope; the actualisation of the American dream where opportunity was for all dependent on one’s ability irrespective of race or one’s background. He gave Africa hope through the American Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) and America’s foreign policy has never been so easy and relaxed.

The restoration of diplomatic ties with Cuba after six decades of hostilities and the admission that America erred in attacking Iraq are the hallmarks of an accomplished statesman.

Power Africa was one of his flagship projects in Africa. Obamacare, a comprehensive medical scheme for the middle and low income groups received accolades. Capping it all, Obama can rightly claim to be the only US president who went through eight years without a single scandal.

The election of Donald Trump threatens to reverse all those gains. During campaigns and after, Trumps has demonstrated he will move away from the traditional way of doing or looking at issues domestically and internationally.

He comes across as the lone ranger on a mission to change the world and in so doing, make America great again. However, he started on the wrong footing but is not apologetic about his abrasive leadership style.

This placed him on a collision course with American institutions, notably CIA and long-time traditional allies long before he takes oath of office today. Trump has also shown little regard for the United Nations. The status quo is in for a rough ride.

Trump's relationship with the media is at best lukewarm. He has no definite foreign policy and has been hitting at America’s allies through his Tweeter account. He threatens to withdraw American assistance to developing countries.

He says he will reconsider ties with China and NATO allies are not comfortable with him warming up to Russia as he has indicated. It may be too early to judge Trump, but he seems to be on a mission to make America great at the expense of the rest of the world.

It will however do him good to note that America cannot work in isolation. The world stage has shrunk and, despite the big-brother syndrome, there is more to be achieved through cooperation and inclusiveness than bullying.

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