Here, right now, as I type these words, is an incredibly opportune moment for us to witness the change that we have been hearing from Barack Obama. For someone who came to power on the promise that he is going to bring change to Washington politics and reverse the damages and disastrous policies followed by the Bush Administration, he could not have bargained for a better time to show the world what he was sincere. As Israeli shells pound the Gaza strip is what is unquestionably an obscene display of excessive force against a decidedly weak opponent, we have a situation that calls for unreserved and strong condemnation.
Most importantly, everyone is waiting for the signal from America. Indeed, there are commentators arguing that this whole episode was a demonstration to the incoming President about how Israel is going to deal with this longstanding dispute. And we are still waiting for a comment..... No, Mr. Obama, dodging questions by saying that there is only one President at a time is not good enough, and that is certainly not what people in the world expected to hear. You can say more, even if you cannot do much, like the strong words you chose when responding to the congratulations from Mr. Ahmadinejad. Evidently there is only one person running the White House and we all know that the President in waiting cannot order an intervention, but a less ambiguous reaction would have gone a long way in changing the face of geo-politics in the Middle East in months to come.
And yet, nothing is coming from the man who stood for change. I understand how entangled American interests are in the special US-Israel relationship and I am not naive enough to have believed that the new President would supply tanks and ammunition to Palestine on arrival, but there was definitely a hope for a relatively more even-handed approach to the resolution of conflict. And nothing, not even the financial mess, could have presented a golden opportunity such as this to ascertain Mr. Obama's real intention of bringing change and improving the image and global standing of America.
And, we are still waiting....