As luck would have it, the first "black" president will need FDR Roosevelt’s kind of leadership to make his mark on the US. Briefly this is what awaits Obama on his in-tray come January 1 2009:
- Economy in Recession: According to experts, the recession may last as long as 2 years i.e. roughly the time it'll take for the housing market to stabilise and start rising. In which case, most will have forgotten that this was Dubya's handy work and blame Obama. Unless he can do the radical surgery in his first 3 months aka the honeymoon period.
- Useless wars: 5 years ago, the war in Iraq made sense(mainly because Americans were frightened into thinking it did). Today, with 4,000+ dead and $1trn spent (another cause of the current downturn?), I doubt if many give a care. Ditto Afghanistan where Osama is still unaccounted for.
- Emerging Rivals: China and Russia will continue to challenge in the economic and military spheres respectively. US needs to be a lot more intelligent about how it deals with both and especially Russia.
- Nuclear proliferation: It’s difficult when you make yourself the authority on who should hold nuclear bombs. It requires consistency which is clearly not there e.g. why India and Pakistan but not its neighbour Iran?