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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama It Is

Well, Obama it is. Hard to say what this means for the US and for the world. As The Guardian put it this morning: "it is hard to know whether to week or to shout for joy". Most of the local commentary, driven by US-born Israelis, is that this is a historic mistake, the magnitude of which will be clear soon enough. Others are more cautious and ask to give Obama a chance.

If I were to try and take a high-level view of recent events (a risk, given the lack of proper historical perspective), I would frame everything in the context of the power shift from the US to the East, particulary to China. The US is steadily losing its hegemony as the world leader, a position it has held for almost a century, most recently as the sole world leader. The US is not going away any time soon; empires usually do not crash in a single bang, they fade out over a long period of time. But the trend is clear. This fading out has always carried with it tumultous events in world history, as the world seeks a new balance. The war against terrorism, the economic turmoil, the general sense of hopeleseness, the apathy of Europeans - everything can be attributed to this shift. The thirst for change in America, manifested in this Presidential election is yet another symptom of this global readjustment. The US is struggling to come to terms with the fact that it has peaked and it's mostly downhill from here.

We live in a world best described by the old Chinese curse as "interesting times".

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