Sunday, November 9, 2008

An Open Letter To Mr. Barack Obama

Dear Mr. Obama,

Chances are that this open letter will be lost in the millions of blog entries on Internet. But then this Internet. This could find its way to you - who knows?

My opinion may not matter much to you, in any case. First, you are surrounded by men and women of exceptional standings. They are your advisers. They obviously know a thing or two about economics, politics, America and the World. Second, I am not even an American.

But here goes any ways ...

Long ago, we too elected a leader who energised a nation. He was young and he too had dreams. Rajiv Gandhi. We thought we finally had a world-change. But things happened. And then he got assassinated.

I haven't seen any other election that carried so much promise. Until now that is. Yes, Indians are thrilled by the promise your election carries, even though we know you are an American president. We are thrilled that there is another leader who is young and has dreams.

But whether you wish to remain an American president or be a world changer (this is not by default, you have to work towards it) is your decision. All your acts will obviously be guided by your that one decision. But whatever you do will have an impact round the world - whether anyone likes or not, American remains the only superpower.

So here is my wish list / advice for you.

1) Do not be the first Black president. Be the first Green President.
Understand the difference between urgent and important. To save the world economy is urgent. But to ensure that earth remains a clean home is important. Please keep a green earth your top-priority. The world economy will heal itself sooner or later.

2) Long Term versus Short Term
Your victory is to a large extent can be ascribed to the current economic situation. I am not taking away your and your team's role in the victory. But if the Bush Administration had delivered, you wouldn't have won. So obviously you will focus on reviving the American Economy. Besides, it is urgent. Entering long periods of recession is not going to help anyone. The first casualty is likely to be the earth. All attention from global warming will be diverted to earning bread. But as I have posted previously in my blog, the market is a chaotic system. Ensure that the decisions you take keep long term effect of short term actions into account. As much as possible, I mean. Your team will come up with solutions as you direct. If your attitude is come-on-let's-lick-this-problem-now-we-will-cross-other-bridges-when-we-come-to-it you are likely to get short term solutions with long term disasters. This is something to keep in mind for everything. The problem is that people will expect a quick solution from you and you will be under pressure to perform. Beware of hasty steps. They will come to haunt you later.

3) Terrorism
For some time now the world has looked to America to crush terrorism. America has used force to crush terrorism. I think such attempts are futile and foolish. Futile and foolish because the solution is not holistic. The solution is simple but for some reason hasn't been actuated. All that is needed is to choke off the fund flow into terrorist hands. Adopt a resolution similar to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Get other countries involved. Hunt for the people who finance the terrorists and who supply arms to them. Easier said than done but possible at a fraction of cost when compared to costs of direct attack - you would know better the financial and human costs of the Afghan war.

4) World Trade
Ban protectionism. Open up world trade. Will make you unpopular in America if you do it immediately. But has to be done and will happen whether America likes it or not. If the world has to prosper. Your call.

5) Listen to your conscience
America may have elected you. But the World looks at you for leadership. I will love it if India provides that leadership but that will take time. Now it is you. Before taking a decision, take a deep breath, close your eyes and listen to the small voice inside your head. Will this be good for the world or just America (for the short term, at least)? Chose to be a world leader - not just because you are the head of the most powerful democracy but because you choose to take the world along.

Here's wishing you all the very best. You know that you can't be an average president. It is either excellence or disaster. Give it your best shot.

I would hate to see another dream die.

Best Regards,

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I will not presume to answer for the new President but since he is an answer to my prayer (calling) I will tell you that he basically agrees with you. The greatest challenge will be that of protectionism. He is a gifted speaker so my solution is substitution. As we alter the protection of a product or service we can introduce an alternative potential income. will allow you to get this directly to Barack. Since this website is privately funded I see no reason why it will ever be limited to only Americans. The conservative era is diminishing and the dawn of oneness is with us.
Deborah J. Boyd

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