themcglynn.com

24 Jan

Whirlwind of Change – View From Britain

Washington feels the whirlwind of change

Leonard Doyle, The Independent, January 24

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In his extraordinary first week in the Oval Office, President Barack Obama signalled his intention to return America to its place of moral leadership in the world and then proceeded to do something about it.

By his second day in office, Mr Obama had driven a stake through George Bush’s “War on Terror” and as the week went on and the millions who came to Washington for the inauguration returned home on an emotional high, Mr Obama signalled that the country was under new management.

He opened the White House to strangers for a few hours, visited the cubbyholes where the press corps works and revealed that he would be hanging on to his BlackBerry.

One of his first official acts was to freeze the salaries of his senior staff, a nod to the pain being felt by millions of unemployed Americans.

And he implemented the toughest ethics rules ever in the White House. The door through which relatively poorly paid staffers went on to become highly paid lobbyists – after a brief cooling-off period – was slammed shut.

By Thursday, Mr Obama had plunged into the quagmire of peacemaking in the Middle East and appointed his own envoy to the region, George Mitchell, who negotiated the Good Friday agreement in Belfast…………………

Restoring America’s moral stature, by returning to an era of respect for international institutions and laws, was at the heart of his early initiatives. In his inaugural address, Mr Obama carefully said, “our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred” – he used the word “war” only to describe specific events…………………………………………………………………………………

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