Yes he did
Up until the death of Osama bin Laden, the story of Obama’s presidency seemed a series of compromises and hedged bets. Now Obama is gearing up to speed and giving Americans a much needed narrative – just in time for the elections.
Despite a modest upswing in popularity, Obama still has to deal with the reality of not just a lame recovery, but a weary and disabused electoral base no longer prone to euphoric slogans.
It’s no secret that on Election Day Americans tend to vote according to their wallets. So how Obama does in 2012 will depend on a host of economic factors currently playing themselves out.
Obama’s foreign policy bears the hallmarks of his professorial character. Every issue is weighed and debated. As events unfold, he adapts his actions to the contingencies on the ground rather than to predefined grand strategies.
People naturally expect leaders to shape events. But the will of even the most effective leader might be negligible in the face of history, no matter how hard he tries to bend fate.
The President’s poll figures got a much needed lift after the bin Laden announcement. But he still has a way to go when it comes to approval on economic issues.
The Republicans have been invigorated by the conservative movement known as the Tea Party. They were hugely successful in the midterm elections and are now hoping to generate the critical mass necessary to win the White House.
The auto industry shifts gear
The auto industry was the driving force of the US economy in the 20th century. But now cars are beginning to take a back seat in the national psyche.
Increased competitive pressure from new players such as low-cost Chinese and Indian cars, a diminishing role for direct government intervention in the automotive industry, and an increasingly globalized market are the elements that are leading to a revolution in the sector.
The Citroën DS was the expression of a new desire for freedom, class and modernity during the second half of the 20th century. A car so unique that no one has ever dared to imitate it.
With a foot on both sides of the Atlantic, Italian-born and Canadian-educated financial wizard Sergio Marchionne was key to the recent Fiat-Chrysler tie-up. He has straddled the cultural gap to transform Italian corporate culture.
Now he must produce the cars people want.
Thanks to a successful stimulus plan, the Chinese economy is still roaring, and people keep buying cars. But eventually automobile sales will taper off. Now is the time to plan for the inevitable slowdown in growth.
Even though Osama bin Laden is gone, an accurate assessment of how jihadist terrorism will evolve is more than ever essential to success. Anti-terrorism forces must keep a step ahead of al-Qaeda.
The world was rid of Osama bin Laden exactly when the Middle East was rising up and rebuffing the ideology he hoped it would embrace. Now our Arab neighbors must find their own way to political freedom and economic development.
Even those who stand to gain from the collapse of Bashar al-Assad’s regime are reluctant to encourage the revolts. Syria’s complex political ties and geographic position explain why.
The Arab Spring is creating a new balance of power in the Middle East and North Africa. Some major players are concentrating on damage control, while others see the strife as a chance to improve their positions.
Now that South Sudan is about to become a new state, what remains of the old state will have to adjust to a new reality. The good news is that there are oil resources. The bad news is that often such resources prove to be a curse.
Sport can be an extraordinary diplomatic tool, allowing conflicting countries to take that symbolic first small step toward reconciliation.
One of the most fortunate “coincidences” for the planet is that the foods making up the healthiest diets are the ones that leave the lightest ecological footprint.