Obama gets moving

2009-01-24 00:00

THE United States’s new president, Barack Obama, has acted with commendable speed to reverse some of the most controversial aspects of George W. Bush’s notorious “war on terror”. Within days of taking office, Obama has issued draft executive orders of great symbolic significance, among them the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison within a year, the shutting down of secret prisons maintained by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the banning of the use of torture, including the notorious water-boarding, in interrogations.

While the U.S. reaction in the wake of the deadly 9/11 attacks was understandable, the measures taken indicated a preparedness to stoop to the level of the exponents of international terror rather than to maintain the important principles contained in the country’s founding documents, like freedom and equality.

Obama’s ability to hit the ground running is the result of his meticulous preparation for his demanding job. In rapidly assembling a star team and giving considered attention as to how to resolve the many problems facing the U.S. and the wider world, Obama has given early promise that he is more than a new face and an inspiring speaker, but also a man with a strong commitment to his election promises.

In reaffirming the core values of the U.S., Obama appears to be on the road to reclaiming the moral capital so profligately squandered by his predecessor. A reinvigorated, less arrogant U.S. could well prove a powerful catalyst for positive change in a world beset by many serious economic, political, social and environmental problems.

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