By Safaa Ali
With Barack Obama’s election a new era in American politics is about to unfold, but he may be just a one-term president, said Patrick Mason, assistant professor of history at The American University in Cairo.
The next four years will be a chance to forge a real peace process between nations, Mason told an audience at Moataz Al Alfy Hall, during his lecture on “Analyzing Obama’s election and its impact on the Middle East.”
“We have to get the most out of this,” said Mason, who is also acting director of the American studies center.
The professor called the recent elections the most significant in the history of the United States. “Finally the dream of Dr. Luther King came true,” he said. “The election gave hope for a whole generation.”
Obama is being guided by five priorities as he enters the Oval Office, Mason said-fixing the U.S., economy, finding alternative energy resources, health care reform, tax reform and education.
Obama is influenced by two political legacies, the Clinton administration and the Kennedy administration.
“Obama wants to use diplomacy instead of cowboy policies used by Bush,” he said.
Mason said that Obama is concerned of the Middle Eastern issues as well as fighting terrorism. He intends to pursue negotiations with other nations including Iran and Syria, and adopting new techniques in fighting terrorism like in Afghanistan, for instance, building schools and cities rather than killing people.
Above all, the President elect is committed to withdraw U.S troops from Iraq within 16 months. “He does not want to be involved in a new war,” said Mason.