Monday, June 22, 2009


This is the time for Obama to shine or not!

by Charlie Leck

There are a host of crisises arrayed in front of the President of the United States right now. And, they are real testers. North Korea is stirring up trouble. Iraq is quiet one day and volatile the next. Afghanistan has seen too many civilians getting slaughtered and the mission there seems fuzzy. The stability of Pakistan is threatened daily by terrorists who appear, seemingly, out of nowhere.

Yet, the most critical test for our new President is clearly Iran. We should watch this situation and how Obama handles it very closely.

The Republicans – even moderates – are being highly critical of the President so far. They want to hear a stronger voice. Senator John McCain has been one of the loudest critics urging the President to get tougher. Yet, Obama remains moderate and urges the Iranian leadership to be more open to protest and negotiation.

We just went through a period of drum beating, shouting and threats from the last occupant of the White House. I urge you to look at where it has gotten us – deeply mired in military interventions in too many places and spread so thin that we cannot respond to threats in other parts of the world.

This is the promised change that Obama campaigned on. This is what he pledged – that things would be handled differently.

We don’t need bellicose threats and raised, clenched fists. We need calm rationality. We need discussion. We need a pursuit of solutions. We need cooperation from other nations around the world.

World citizens are liking what they are seeing in Obama. First, there is not gun-slinger, fast draw reaction. At the moment, the McCain approach in Iran would be the worst possible thing we could do. If we shake our fists and makes demands on Ahmadinejad, the Iranian leader will laugh at us and tell us where to go. He’ll challenge us to make good on our threats and try to lure us into a third front of military confrontation. Is there a sane person who thinks we can handle that? Obama is being praised all around Europe for his approach on this crisis – and on his approach with North Korea.

This quiet, voice of Ali Reza, an actor from Iran who is observing the street protests, is the same voice of hope I feel in my own soul:

“We don’t want this regime to fail. We want our votes to be counted, because we want reforms. We want kindness. We want friendship with the world.”
That is the quiet, consistent voice of our President. He knows that the movement for change in America is really an international movement. There have been years and years of loud voices and clenched fists. The President approaches these matters with open hands and an open mind. It has been so long since we have had such leadership. If we are patient, I believe the approach will work.

This is the moment of Barack Obama. This is why we voted for him.

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