Second term blues

On the challenges faced by Barack Obama in the second term
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First Published: Mon, Jan 21 2013. 01 08 AM IST
US President Barack Obama. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP
US President Barack Obama. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP
As he begins his second term this week, US President Barack Obama faces two immediate, and near intractable, challenges. First, it’s widely expected that Benjamin Netanyahu will be re-elected. If that happens, it is quite likely that Israel's tensions with Iran will only rise. Then further east in Eurasia, tensions between China and Japan are already at an elevated level. Just days ago, both countries sent planes over the Senkaku Islands (China calls them Diaoyu).
Both problems are rooted in nationalist imagination of what is wrong and right for these countries. Such disputes, if they can be called that, are rarely amenable to diplomacy. The problem for the US is that barring Iran, it enjoys close ties with these contending partners. Choosing sides is likely to prove tricky for the US. In his first term, Obama faced what were essentially “technical” challenges. These problems defy reason itself.
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First Published: Mon, Jan 21 2013. 01 08 AM IST
More Topics: US | Barack Obama | second term | challenges | Israel |
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