GITMO IS GONE NOW – AND IT IS GOOD.

The eight years of Barack Obama are coming to an end. The new US President will be in the office in January 2017. The process has begun and the US Presidential election will reach to its crescendo July onwards.

At a personal level, these eight years should have been monumental, like they are supposed to be in any US President’s life in these times of global turmoil. The US has been and still is the pivot of the global order and we must honestly accept that.

And precisely for that reason, a US President’s term is not judged only by his domestic politics excellence but also by how he manages the world. And it is increasingly ‘how he manages’ from ‘how he controls’ – that was the perception (or the reality) in the Cold War era after the second World War. Much of that has changed and is still changing.

And that has made the job of the US President even more difficult.

Anyway, if it is about Barack Obama, the first black President in the US history, we can clearly say it is nowhere near to hopes raised by the Norwegian Nobel Committee when it decided to award the 2009 Peace Nobel – based on the aspirations he raised – during his campaign – by his words – and by becoming the first black President.

The 2009 press released had said: “The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.”

We can say nothing of that sort has happened. The world is even more dangerous a place now with Arab Spring’s failure in all countries where it took place except Tunisia. ISIS, an even bigger threat than Al Qaeda has ravaged Iraq and Syria and is threatening other countries in the area. There has been no qualitative change in crisis hotbeds in many African, Asian and South American nations. In fact, the nations where the US has been directly involved, Iraq and Afghanistan, are as much volatile as they were ten years back.

So, nothing much here for Barack Obama to take back his home when he leaves the White House in January 2017.

Well, I do not intend to write a critique of his terms here. This write-up had its genesis this evening when the news broke that Barack Obama was going to close the Guantanamo Bay prison. So, it is finally here and it took Barack Obama eight years to reach at this landmark decision – to come up with a concrete plan to close the detention camp. Obama had been championing the cause, had promised it in his 2009 Peace Nobel speech and the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize had an illuminating mention about it – “Torture is forbidden; the President is doing what he can to close Guantanamo.” – to – “That is why I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed.”

If it has taken this much time, there would be reasons and pressures – but going by the man Barack Obama is – a man whom the world loves to tune into – not only for his oratory, but also for his sincerity and substance – there is no reason to question that why he couldn’t do it earlier.

Shutting down Gitmo (or Guantanamo Bay prison) was long overdue and it is good that Obama has finally done it. It was a living monument of torture and had no place in the societies the US so vehemently proposes to pursue.

And it is another history-making decision after Obama’s last year resolve to bury the hatchet with Cuba – a peace initiative that came after over half a century – a global event that is still in making – with the US and Cuba establishing diplomatic ties. Obama is set to visit Cuba and another positive development came recently when the US and Cuba signed agreement to begin commercial flights after 53 years.

And these developments will be seen with probably the most significant development in Obama’s Presidential career – making the world free of Osama bin Laden – the biggest terrorist of his time – the mastermind of 9/11 and many other global terror attacks.

Like it happens, Obama’s terms (his two terms) have had mixed outcomes with many policy failures (or frustrations) – but he has been able to overshadow them with his history-making decisions – most notably these three.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

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