Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Will Obama Bring Change to U.S. Policy in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan?

Two of the biggest issues waiting for President-elect Barack Obama are, first, the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and, second, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  On both counts, we don't know exactly how the new president will handle these hot policy issues.  Obama's political stump speeches and pronouncements -- in typical, non-offensive political fashion -- are too vague to get a clear picture of his intended policy implementation.  The truth won't be revealed until he sets foot in the Oval Office.

While we wait for Obama to take office, America has a clear national leadership vacuum, as both foreign and domestic policy drifts rudderlessly toward January 20th. George W. Bush has been a presidential empty suit for eight years and now the whole suit has disappeared.  In the Gaza Strip in Palestine, the Israeli government is taking full and final advantage of the Bush Administration's 8-year hands-off policy in Palestine.  Obviously, the Israeli government doesn't trust campaign pronouncements either.

I am predicting that once Obama is sworn into office, he is going to meet highly visible American opposition to Israel's outrageous and obviously illegal military actions and activities in Palestine.  His supporters will be less tolerant of -- and more vocal about -- Israel's violations of international law and crimes against humanity as exhibited in Gaza over that last 18 months and more.  His supporters are going to want "change" in American foreign policy toward Israel and Palestine.  "Change" ultimately may be an albatross draped on Obama by his own supporters.  That's my prediction.

At the recent United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) General Assembly in Chicago, Palestinian-American Ali Abunimah addressed the issue of American foreign policy in Palestine and whether Obama may or may not bring "change" to the Middle East arena.  Abunimah's speech is provided below.  Americans should take the time to listen to these words in light of the conflict in the Gaza Strip and as we wait for someone to occupy the Oval Office.    

-- Rico Thomas Rico
Ali Abunimuh Speaking in Chicago
at the UFPJ General Assembly
13 December 2008

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