How Barack Obama can Win the Trust

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The new president Mr. Obama must reinvent the US as a country that listens, that engages with others, and that has, in the famous phrase from the American Declaration of Independence in 1776, ‘‘a decent respect to the opinions of mankind.''

The Arab press in the week after his election has been particularly impressive and openly scorned America's Arab critics, pointing to Obama election as proof of the critics' ignorance and of America's astonishing capacity to re-invent itself. But Americans must learn not to define ‘‘anti-Americanism'' so broadly that they convert every critic into an enemy. An Obama administration, led by a man who has lived abroad and traveled extensively, must recognize that foreigners approach global problems with a different set of assumptions and experiences and that they might have different priorities that Washington must learn to respect.

Washington, in keeping with the Obama approach, should overtly and visibly demonstrate its openness to the needs and priorities of the rest of the world. The new administration must show that, despite its understandable internal preoccupations, America still the world richest country by far will never forget its responsibilities to the well-being of the planet. Foreigners can't help feeling dismayed when they read that 65% of the elected members of a recent US Congress had never held a passport.

Working with the UN and an expanded G-8. It is essential that Washington never again show's the Bush administration's disdain for the opinions of the rest of the world. Washington must stop the Bush administration practices that have repudiated the values for which America has long stood. A good shortlist to start with would be to close down Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

The new president must show in word and deed that he recognizes the world has changed. An America that adjusts graciously from being the world's CEO to its chairman of the board, gently nudging a set of independent directors whose autonomy it respects, is an America that once again could be a shining beacon on the hill for the rest of us.

Andrew Sullivan wrote in The Atlantic: At a time when America's estrangement from the world risks tipping into dangerous imbalance, when a country at war with lethal enemies is also increasingly at war with itself, when humankind's spiritual yearnings veer between an excess of certainty and an inability to believe anything at all, and when sectarian and racial divides seem as intractable as ever, a man who is a bridge between these worlds may seem indispensable.

We may in fact have finally found that bridge to the 21st century that Bill Clinton told us about. Its name is Mr. Barack H. Obama.

Feroz Ahmed Bawany goal is to increase my knowledge and to understand the only civilized creations of Almighty Lord are HUMAN. He is a regular contributer to TRCB.com.

 

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