Global Politics

The day after victory

Take one look at the to-do list facing Obama and you start to ask yourself, who in their right mind would want this job? This former national security advisor summed up the challenges by saying, I'm glad I don't have to write the first memo to the president because it'll be so discouraging. If this analyst had to write that first memo, she says the problem at the top of her list would be the global financial crisis, and whether more coordinated institutional fixes are needed to solve the problem. She says the financial crisis is so urgent Obama will have to start acting before he's inaugurated but will have to be careful not to step on Bush's toes. She also believes Obama will revolutionize the transition period in the same way he did for the campaign. Other urgent problems include the war in Afghanistan, and this military analyst says that could be an even tougher challenge than the financial crisis. He says Obama will have to draw down in Iraq as rapidly as he can in order to free up resources for a counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan. The Democrats will no longer be able to blame Bush and the Republicans for failures in foreign policy and Obama's opponents will be ready to pounce. John Bolton says the political debts Obama incurred during the campaign could come back to haunt him. In an op-ed today Bolton urges Obama to get to work on these issues right away because America's adversaries won't give Obama a honeymoon period. This political scientist says daunting challenges have often bred some of our best presidents.

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