Mohammad Jamil

President Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney with a big margin and won himself a second term after a bitter and historically expensive race. In his victory speech, Obama thanked every American who voted, and vowed to work with leaders from both parties to tackle the country’s challenges.

In his speech, he offered clues to the policy goals of his second term, which included a deficit-reduction plan that combines tax increases with spending cuts, a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s federal immigration laws and tax reform. After he had assumed office of president in 2009, he remained under ‘scrutiny’ by the political analysts, commentators, and more so by the Muslims throughout the world after the promises he made in Cairo in first week of June 2009, giving hope for peace to the world.

During his election campaign and later as president-elect Obama had stated that to be successful in war on terror, Kashmir issue needs to be resolved – which was reflective of Obama’s pragmatism and realisation that confrontation between India and Pakistan could make Afghanistan a lost cause.

He had also declared that he would withdraw troops in phases from Iraq, and would increase presence in Afghanistan by deploying additional 30,000 troops. He had given gestures about negotiations with Iran without preconditions; he talked about Hamas as a legitimate organisation that represented part of Palestinian society; he spoke with empathy about Palestinian sufferings and; he spoke about security not only for Israelis but also for Palestinians; he said that all the settlements were illegal; and he called for nuclear disarmament of the entire world.

He was given Peace Nobel Prize for his rhetoric, as he had not contributed to peace during first ten months in the office. And, due to the pressure from the neocons, he backtracked. In fact, neocons, warmongers and those who hated peace had gone in hibernation for a while, as they wanted Obama to use his soft visage to restore America’s credibility, which had been tarnished by George Bush.

There is a perception that after his reelection as President, Barrack Obama will take some major initiatives and decisions. Since there is no provision in the American constitution for a third term, he will not have any stakes; therefore, he would care much if some sections would not be happy with his decisions.

So far, thirteen presidents have completed two terms, and now it has to be seen whether Obama completes his second term. In the past, three presidents could not complete the second term; two of them were assassinated and one – Richard Nixon – had resigned. Four presidents, who completed the first term of their predecessors, were not elected to the first term but they did get elected to the second term. Anyhow, almost all of them took major decisions in their second term. President Bill Clinton had taken major economic decisions in his second term, and was able to revive and strengthen the economy.

Today, America is in deep trouble in the Middle East, in South Asia and elsewhere, and it has become difficult for military-industrial-corporate complex to fund the war theatres opened by former president George Bush, who was also responsible for entering into a dangerous US-India nuclear deal whereby India got the privileges of a nuclear-weapons state without responsibilities that go along with it. By doing so, America is not on moral high ground to pressurise Iran, North Korea or, for that matter, Pakistan to abandon expansion of nuclear capabilities.

However, Democrats are to blame in equal measure for having supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003 despite the fact the most countries of the world had opposed the US for cobbling the ‘coalition of the willing’, showing utter disregard to the United Nations Security Council.

Now, the world is watching whether President Obama would stick to his plan for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. The big powers indeed have their own imperatives or compulsions. The US may have set its own priorities but, apparently, every issue seems to be important to the super power, be it war against terror, nuclear non-proliferation, narcotics control or containing China – if not now then at a later stage.

The US and the West will continue changing stances as and when it suits them. By entering into strategic partnership and inking nuclear deal with India, the US leadership had not only disappointed Pakistan but also spawned despondency in Kashmir. Having all said, it depends on Pakistan’s leadership, whether it can take advantage of Pakistan’s geopolitical situation. Nevertheless, if Pakistan wants to be heard and given importance, it has to come out of the dependency syndrome.