Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New Day?

I don't know if I was worried about jinxing the Obama campaign somehow or if I for a period just lost the motivation to blog, but it's been almost a year since I've been here.

At the time of my last post I really didn't think Barack had a chance to win. His pledge, or at least stated plan to hold a conference of Middle Eastern parties, even enemies of the US, to discuss ways to counter terrorism struck me as enough to disqualify a candidate from a major national office in the United States.

Obama's statements since then present him as much more favorable to Israel than he appeared at the time, but he has not explicitly gone back on his earlier statements. We are going to have to learn who the real Barack Obama is over the next few months. His nominations show him as in line with previous US Middle East policy. But he insists that he, not his appointees will make policy - which just may be the case.

No verdict is in. I'm not optimistic but I am prepared to be pleasantly surprised at the degree to which Obama is able to break from the US' previous Middle East orientation. The reason is that Obama's goals in Iraq and Afghanistan would be a lot easier to reach if he can convince the region that he has or is willing to change policies on Israel and Israel-related issues such as Iranian uranium enrichment.

There's not much more to say except we shall see.

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