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Leaving a good legacy

Leaving a good legacy
Highlights

Leaving a good legacy.All democratic rulers, particularly American presidents, strive to leave a good legacy by which they are remembered and one that helps their party win the next presidential election.

Things are happening at a fast pace. He has reached out to India, improved ties with China and ended military involvement in Afghanistan

All democratic rulers, particularly American presidents, strive to leave a good legacy by which they are remembered and one that helps their party win the next presidential election. Barack Obama, the first Black and a rank ‘outsider’, is no exception. For someone who waited patiently to be accepted – a debatable point considering the opposition from within his own party and from the Republicans – he has done remarkably well in working to end America’s old animosity with Iran and Cuba.

Things are happening at a fast pace. He has reached out to India and improved ties with China and Pakistan and ended military involvement in Afghanistan. More significantly, the US and the major powers reached a deal last week with Iran on the latter’s nuclear proramme. And even before the ink has dried on the deal, Obama on Saturday met Cuban President Raoul Castro. It has been approved by Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro in what would seems at this stage a win-win situation.

The last two developments are well choreographed, have taken time and hopefully, shall remain difficult to renege, so that the world could see a flicker of peace in the volatile Caribbean region and violent West Asia.It has not been easy for Obama. There are strong lobbies against Havana, the Hispanics and the émigré Cubans settled on the US east coast who could make things difficult for Obama’s Democratic Party nominee in the end-2016 presidential polls. There are many homes across America where soldiers have died in Vietnam or Korea where, Fidel Castro’s Cuba fought on the other side. Half-a-century of prejudices against things Cuban and communists are not easy to surmount for Americans used to being feared as the most powerful nation.

This may hopefully lead to the US removing Cuba from the list of terrorism sponsoring nations, following up on the gradual easing by Washington of travel and tourism restrictions that have been in place for half a century. There is expectation that Obama will ease up on Venezuela too.The deal with Iran has been even more difficult. America’s two strong allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia have openly opposed it. Obama’s vibes with Israel’s Netanyahu have been bad and yet the US Congress invited him for a special address. Netanyahu has since won a re-election back home.

Whether or not directly connected with the US-Iran deal, Saudi Arabia has gathered the Arab nations to attack Yemen to defeat the Houthis, the Shia minority supposedly helped by Tehran. Indeed, this new military conflict has pushed the US-Iran deal into a bit of a background. For India, both overtures by the US are welcome. Despite the American hostilities and sanctions, India and Indians never stopped befriending a distant Cuba or the neighbourly Iran. Fidel is a popular figure in India. India kept its ancient ties with Iran despite American pressures, even though it had to reduce oil imports from Tehran after a gag on banking transactions.

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