James Forsyth

The case for Obama

The case for Obama
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Andrew Sullivan’s Atlantic essay making the case for Obama is well worth reading. His key point is this, 

Unlike any of the other candidates, he could take America—finally—past the debilitating, self-perpetuating family quarrel of the Baby Boom generation that has long engulfed all of us. So much has happened in America in the past seven years, let alone the past 40, that we can be forgiven for focusing on the present and the immediate future. But it is only when you take several large steps back into the long past that the full logic of an Obama presidency stares directly—and uncomfortably—at you. 

At its best, the Obama candidacy is about ending a war—not so much the war in Iraq, which now has a mo­mentum that will propel the occupation into the next decade—but the war within America that has prevailed since Vietnam and that shows dangerous signs of intensifying, a nonviolent civil war that has crippled America at the very time the world needs it most. It is a war about war—and about culture and about religion and about race. And in that war, Obama—and Obama alone—offers the possibility of a truce.Sullivan thinks that Obama could be America’s bridge to the 21st century on the three crucial issues facing it: a post 9/11 foreign policy, how to balance the religious and the secular and race.

There’s no doubt that Obama would makes American politics less polarised and more civil. He also understands how to deal with family breakdown and regenerate run down urban areas in a way that no other candidate running for president does. But on what remains for me, the biggest issue of the day—foreign policy—he still seems too naïve. He places too much confidence, as Sullivan does, in the transformative effect that having a black president who grew up outside America would have on the world. Certainly, Europeans would feel more warmly towards the United States under an Obama presidency but I doubt whether it would change minds amongst those determined not to see the good in America.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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