When President Barak Obama became President of the United States in 2009, America was a divided nation. It was a nation whose previous President had set in motion two major wars, costing his country over U.S.$1 trillion, and in doing so he had unleashed the devil of Middle East misadventures in lands the West knows little about and cares enen less. He had heavy opposition from career politician Democrats forging ahead with their own schemes and Republicans, who thought the idea was a massive waste of tax payer money.
President Obama’s mission when he took the White House on 20 January that year was to somehow extricate America from these two wars in a state where the outcome is clearly advantageous to the U.S. He had major debts caused by the Global Financial Crisis, problems with health, the environment, justice and education among others. And over the years, he was expected to make broad brush progress in all of these, be a Constitutionally obliging President and a responsible Commander in Chief.
We can debate all we like about why Mr Obama took the route he did, but I accept his programme was controversial and I correctly predicted that the Republican Party would shut it down as far as they could. He is leaving an even more divided nation in his wake.
But what of the future?
That is a very good question. It is hard to fully gauge the enormity of what is happening, who is behind it. Incoming President Donald Trump has viewed Twitter as a major platform for delivering policy announcements. He has been all over the place with his announcements. Though I accept his appointees to various roles should be a good indicator of what to expect.
It could potentially include a parting of the ways with N.A.T.O. and some sort of deal with Russia, that most likely turns a blind eye to Vladimir Putin’s abuses. Or will Mr Trump decide that America needs to pull out from the agreement with Iran over its nuclear programme?
Domestically, perhaps he will abolish the Environmental Protection Agency. His Attorney General pick might unwind some of the civil and human rights that Democrats support such as same sex marriage; abortion laws and renew the black hole that is the “War on Drugs”.
Goodbye President Obama. Your wife and your are the epitome of a good First Family. You arrived with the hope of getting America back on track. You made some silly mistakes on decisions (you should have sacked Hillary Clinton, abandoned the T.P.P. and you should have desisted using drones for assassination attempts. You also made some good and useful ones, such as supporting same sex marriages, committing to climate change mitigation. You have reached with Michelle’s help two lovely girls who will shortly have a rare distinction that has only been accorded to Chelsea Clinton as well as Jenna and Barbara Bush of “former first children”.
But Mr President, as you enjoy your last full day as Commander in Chief of the United States armed forces, I cannot help but look back and find as much fog behind me on the road to the future, as I see in front. I cannot help but wonder about what could have been.
As well as what could be in the future.