So, finally. President Barack Obama. After 2000 and 2004 I was always holding my breath. Would the polls be accurate? Would American's really vote for an African American, once in the booth and faced with a stark choice?
Now the tedious time of overlap as we wait for Bush to exit.
Not the landslide I would have liked. Its frankly shocking for me to see how many votes McCain/Palin got.
But President Obama. Fantastic.
And now comes the hard part, but I sense a great 8 years ahead for America. Hard, but great.
Unfortunately, a lot of talk now about his chances of surviving the right wing para-military nutcases. I think he will.
I don't the time nor the talent to do this monemt justice, but here's one I like
Deborah's US Liberal Politics Blog - Great post on Obama
As Obama said -
"America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love."
I would urge people - especially in Oman and the GCC - to read/listen to his speeches, and imagine what more leaders like this in the Middle East could achieve. The whole region is suffering from its poor leadership - even here, the 'second' layer could do with a lot more accountability and information exchange/feedback. Fortunately, there are signs that the Majlis Al Shura is starting to flex its powers. That must be encouraged, with funding for a functional independent working arm of civil servants to act as a balance to the executive branch, an 'honourable opposition' almost. Equally, the judiciary in Oman must be protected and cherished as a truly independent counterbalance to any and all acts that are incompatible with the general rule of law, fairly applied.
And so, what for Oman?
A big opportunity for Oman. Very big.
Certainly, the issues wrt the free trade agreement will become less debatable. Labour laws and unions will be important. Diplomatically, Oman will be even more recognised as the stabilising force in the region it is. And there is a real opportunity for Oman to gain an increased influence in the White House, as the New Administration will be less willing to put up with the excesses of the rest of the GCC wrt women's rights and democratic representation, and Oman can get brownie points by helping to lead the way. A very small effort in the human rights, human trafficking dept would potentially pay HUGE dividends too.
The markets in general will be glad of a result, and positive, as Obama's economic team are about as good as you could wish for. Dollar will ease. Markets will bump and, short term, run flat. The underlying recession is not going anywhere. Sell the bounce.