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Posted on April 2nd, 2012, by

A year ago Barack Obama became a president, having begun a new chapter in U.S. history, that was quite consistent with the public mood: for the first time the post of U.S. president took the African-American. Expectations associated with this event were extremely high, even for a country that welcomes all new. This young 47-year-old politician, who only recently was elected to the Senate, and then was becoming the first Afro-American U.S. president, he seemed a living symbol of overcoming the dogmas and racial prejudices. His election victory has generated euphoria and hope in America and all around the world.

Calls for change – both in domestic and international affairs – were consistent with the mood of American voters. It is noteworthy that the inauguration of Barack Obama in Washington attended by more than a million of people.( Katrina vanden Heuvel)

But today, after a year, public support for a new president is winding down, and he is forced to confront the opposition. This applies above all to his domestic policy initiatives – measures to overcome recession and promote a bill on health reform. Even the most convinced supporters were disappointed with the compromise, approved Barack Obama on the issue of reform of the health care system, as well as his decision to send to Afghanistan an additional thirty thousand troops.

President had to face many challenges: the most acute of them – the economic crisis, the deepest since the Great Depression. Another – a growing threat from al-Qaida and other terrorist groups. Deteriorated and the situation in Afghanistan. The President ordered the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison for a year, however, a year has passed – and the prison is still not closed.

In the international arena Obama has also had to address simultaneously a number of pressing issues: the military campaign in Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran’s nuclear ambitions and North Korea, human rights, missile defense system and climate change. The new head of the White House promised to establish new relations between the U.S. and the Muslim world, whose population reached a billion people.

The President visited many countries. He visited Britain, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Iraq, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Barack Obama took part in the Copenhagen summit on climate change. Another international event associated with the name Barack Obama – is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – a decision that even the most convinced of his followers considered premature.

Finally, at the very end of his first year in the White House, Obama was forced to respond to the humanitarian crisis that erupted in Haiti after the earthquake, and previously – to attempt an explosion on board a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day.

What promised the president and what he had successfully complied with?  President Obama praised his achievements, saying the Washington Post newspaper that many of the promises fulfilled, and that when this work is completed, there will occur “fundamental changes” in health care, energy, education and financial management. (Katrina vanden Heuvel)

The pros

The operation in Haiti is a great example of how Obama could radically change the attitude to his country in the world. The image of the hard state was replaced by a new image of America – a benevolent, supportive, sensitive to the peculiarities of other cultures, acting in the best tradition of liberal internationalism. If the outcome of the first year of Obama in the White House was just that – rehabilitation of America in the eyes of the world community – this result can already be perceived as an outstanding achievement.

In domestic policy, he managed to get the U.S. through the storm very severe financial crisis since the Great Depression, demonstrating competence, commitment and understanding that the brunt of anti-crisis measures lies with the ordinary taxpayers.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was adopted by Congress in less than a month after Obama said the presidential oath. The Act has three main objectives: job creation and preservation of the old, support economic activity and investment in long-term economic growth, ensuring maximum transparency of government operations. In general, for these purposes from the budget has been allocated an astronomical amount of 787 billion dollars. In particular, to stimulate the economy 224 billion was allocated for tax relief and payment of working Americans and business, 275 billion – in government contracts and loans (preference is given infrastructure and energy efficiency projects), etc.( Michelle Fleury, 2010)

During the year, Barack Obama has taken a number of steps to help the U.S. economy. A significant amount of budgetary funds were sent to the aid declared bankruptcy of the largest U.S. automotive companies – Chrysler and General Motors, as well as to major banks. Obama also took a number of less prominent but no less important decisions in the field of economics. In particular, it decided to tighten efficiency standards for cars, has promised to spend no less than 3% of U.S. GDP to support scientific research, has decided to tighten regulation and state control over the activities of financial companies.

Many prominent economists point out that a U.S. recession ends. Comparison of the data series through 2008 and the end of 2009 shows that the negative processes in the U.S. economy if not stopped, it slowed down.

Polls show that Americans are quite skeptical in evaluating the results of economic policies of Obama administration. Thus, ABC’s poll showed that it approves 47% of respondents, don’t approve  52%. Similar results gave the study of CNN: approve 41% of respondents, and disapprove – 54%.

The Cons

Now Obama’s popularity is even lower than George W. Bush in the same period. Obama came to the White House with a record approval rating because they give voters hope for change. As the new president of the United States fulfills its promises?

Economic and social situation in the U.S. has become so unpredictable that the presidency Barack Obama is a big question. U.S. is changing every day, the current socio-economic situation in the country of eternal hope leads electoral mood distance from the White House. In the States you might get an unprecedented situation – Barack Obama may be expressed a distrust. Today in the financial sector, people see no good with his hands of former masters of the universe, and the dirty hands of the ungrateful greedy. And in this sense it is not surprising that the popularity of Obama, desperate and “beat up” the voters of Massachusetts, has fallen more than support his party.

There are some other disappointing facts. So the president could not stand his promise about a period of time of closing Guantanamo, despite the fact that he took bold and praiseworthy decision to consider the case of some prisoners of the prison in U.S. courts.

As for the international situation, some hot questions are left unsolved. The schedule of withdrawal from Iraq was also more prolonged than many had hoped. Despite the Herculean efforts of Obama to clarify U.S. objectives in Afghanistan, the fact remains: this war is a costly and ill-conceived venture. All these give a feeling that the president was too slow and uncertain while decision making.

In light of these circumstances, public enthusiasm is noticeably abated. Thomas Valashek says about the American president:  “He put a lot of problems, he initiated the discussion of many questions, and do not seem to be able to bring at least one of them until the end.” (Sonja Pace)

A similar mood prevails today in the Middle East. Residents of the region embraced with enthusiasm the Cairo speech, Barack Obama, addressed to all the Muslim world. However, the heart of the Middle East problem is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and many had hoped for a change in the Middle East policy.

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