The KAL cartoon in this week’s issue of The Economist suggests that Obama will be torn apart by all the problems that he’s facing. He is facing a lot of problems; the economic crisis, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the war in Gaza, the environmental crisis, the energy crisis, etc. What The Economist does not realize, it seems, is that reform, political change, and new regulations are much easier to execute in times of crisis. In ‘normal’ times, people are usually satisfied and (satisfied) people has a tendency to resist change. In critical times, however, more people are dissatisfied, more people see the need for change, and people are more willing to endure the pain that often accompany big changes.
All the problems may thus represent a great opportunity for Obama. He’ll probably be able to end one of the two big wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) in a reasonable fashion. If he’s able and lucky, he’ll get the U.S. onto a track towards a more sustainable energy system. New regulations in the banking sector may be necessary. The U.S. car makers need a new direction. There is so much to do. This is now. This is it. A grand moment (perhaps). Obama’s term in the White House can be a historic turning point for the American nation.
And, by the way, how bad can he really do? What can he do to make it very much worse? It’s like an inverse Wirkola.