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Articles on political and social issues in Cameroon, Africa and the world as seen by Njei Moses Timah > Why America Needs Barack Obama

21 Oct 2008

Obama seems to be America's best choice during this period of multiple crisis


American voters will be going to the polls Nov 4th to choose a president who will replace George W Bush. As polls have consistently demonstrated, Barack Obama will likely emerge the winner. If that happens, Americans should count themselves lucky.

It is difficult for ordinary Americans to appreciate the strategic and psychological importance of Barack Obama moving into the White House at this critical juncture of America’s history. You need to situate America’s future in the context of a fast changing and less friendly world to understand that the country desperately needs the type of change that Obama symbolizes so as to slow down and possibly reverse America’s downhill slide from the pinnacle of the world.

America is a victim of her success and status. Like previous empires before her, the temptation to become arrogant when you are rich and powerful becomes irresistible. Eight years ago, the Republican Party took over a United States that was a military and an economic juggernaut. With few exceptions, there was a general feeling of warmth towards the US from many parts of the world. Regardless of the might of the country they controlled, the Clinton/Gore administration succeeded in projecting to the world a veneer of humility radiating from the White House. They were a likeable and respected pair even to people who disagreed with US policy.

The Bush/Cheney administration, in contrast, is more feared than respected and less likeable judging from results of several polls conducted around the world that showed respondents less favorable towards the US. If John McCain were to move into the White House, it will be generally seen around the world that nothing has changed and his presence there can only help those championing anti-American causes.

As Americans are going to vote in November, the rest of the world is already casting their votes on several websites. Some of us are voting on the www.economist.com/vote2008/. We are using the American-style electoral -college system. The country where I reside, Cameroon has 29 electoral- college votes for our population of 18.6 million while China with a population of 1.328 billion has been allocated 1900 electoral -college votes. As of last count, McCain/Palin have won 31 electoral-college votes while Obama/Biden have already bagged 8906 electoral-college votes. Our final results will be released on November 4th and it is obvious that the trend will not change significantly.

The message we get from such exercises is that the world needs an America that must be perceived to be different from what it currently is. The world needs an America with a human face and a humane outlook. We need an America that will listen more and threaten less. We need an America that will assume leadership to tackle pressing challenges that threaten humankind like global warming and not an America that is perceived to be manipulated by greedy big business to take a stance against what is right for the majority of humanity. The world is saying that the person who can pilot America in that direction and with whom we can do business is Barack Obama. If America wants to move ahead in this global village that our world has become, she needs to take into consideration the majority opinion of other villagers.

Those in America who still think that their country can continue to ignore world opinion with impunity and still forge ahead are living in the past. The era of unilateral posturing is over for good.


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Njei Moses Timah