Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation and The Washington Note has published a piece over at Salon about the Obama administration at Year One.

Clemons argues that Obama has "demonstrated thus far more of an ability to deliver policy outcomes generated by inertia and incrementalism rather than changing the laws of political gravity, which is what he must do if he is to succeed in office."

On all major policy fronts, Obama has been "paralyzed" - siding with architects of the former financial order in order to fix the crisis of their own making; acquiescing to China rather than developing a firm US position; failing to produce a compelling incentive to Iran to abandon nuclear; and on the "defining challenge for the United States in this era" - the Middle East peace - Obama's efforts have "blown up on him" because Netanyahu succeeded in "highlighting more than Obama's enemies the limits of Obama's power abroad."

No president inherits the White House he wants, but Clemons notes how Nixon and Reagan changed "global gravitational patterns" through creative policies towards Communist China and the Soviet Union, respectively. Indeed, Obama needs to create some of the same magic quickly, preferably beginning with the Middle East peace process.

America, and the world, still want change. Now is Obama's time to deliver.

- Amy Greene