STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
What the World Wants From Its President
By - November 06, 2008

Barack Obama will become the most powerful man in the world when he becomes president, and it's not just the US which is waiting to see what happens. Independent correspondents from around the world explain what other countries are expecting. The European Commission president, Jose-Manuel Barroso spoke of a "new deal" between the US and the EU, to shape the global agenda from trade to human rights to climate change. The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, said: "At a time when we all face immense challenges, your election will inspire immense new hope in France, in Europe and in the entire world." The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said, pointedly, that she looked forward to a "closer and more trusting cooperation between the United States and Europe." Others warned, however, that, once the gloss wore off, an Obama presidency was likely to bump against fundamental differences of interest between Europe and the US on issues ranging from trade, to climate change and how to handle a more assertive or belligerent Russia. – BBC

Dominant Social Theme: Barack Obama will bring the world together

Free-Market Analysis: The idea that Barack Obama will be more friendly to the European Union is fairly discouraging. There is nothing very democratic about the EU these days, with its constant electoral do-overs and endless striving for the attributes of a nation state. There is also within the United States considerable controversy about climate change and global trade. If Obama does position the United States to work side by side with the EU on these contentious issues, the results will likely make a bad situation worse.

It bears repeating that Obama's massive American victory was probably the outcome of a protest vote that was aimed at current President George W. Bush. In fact, if Obama and the Democratic Congress take their mandate too seriously, they run the risk of setting off a considerable backlash. In fact, the leaders of the party seem aware of it.

President-elect Barack Obama is facing a Congress with bulked-up Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate to put much of his agenda into law. Obama will inherit a Congress with Democratic House and Senate majorities comparable to those enjoyed by President Clinton when the party last controlled both Congress and the White House in 1992. While Democrats are eager to churn out the new president's legislative programs, they're also anxious to avoid the electoral wipeout that swept them from power in the 1994 congressional elections. That's one reason top leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promise not to lurch to the left and give in to pent-up demands from party liberals. "The country must be governed from the middle," Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters Wednesday. "You have to bring people together to reach consensus on solutions that are sustainable and acceptable to the American people." -Yahoo

Of course, saying that one is aware of something and actually acting on it are two different things. There are hints of what is to come in Obama's rhetoric and interviews. If he does strive to implement the agenda he's hinted at – which apparently has fairly radical components – there will be considerable resistance. And if he reaches across the sea to the socialists in Europe, the resistance in America will likely stiffen, not among all, but among a sizable minority.

After Thoughts

If Obama and the Democratic brain trust do manage to resist their more radical urges, they have the opportunity to build a political dynasty that can actually consolidate what seems otherwise a happenstance of time and place. However, the Democrats have never been known for control. More likely, the confiscations will begin after a time because the left wing of the party will insist on it. The confiscations may include a variety of leveling strategies – fiscal, monetary and social – and they will spark the very outrage that party leaders currently fear.

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