Towards the end of his term in office, the former US president had no supporters left, as so had his policy. But it must not be forgotten that eight years previously G.W. Bush, just as Barack Obama now, was an election winner who could attribute his success to a call for change. Many observers around the world then pinned much hope on the circumstance that Mr Bush's administration comprised politicians and experts of longstanding international experience and expertise. In this respect, it might perhaps be the best team ever. But eight years later the United States was in the sorriest plight in several decades, its political leadership crisis accompanied by global financial and economic meltdown. The moral from this experience is that the motto 'change' does not necessarily have to mean a 'change for the better'. The mood today is that it can't be worse than it was under G.W. Bush, and that, consequently, the Obama administration is doomed to success. The transatlantic relations will be quickly restored, Iran will give up its nuclear weapon ambitions, Russia will be fully integrating with the West after a 'reset' in relations, the Afghan war will be won, and the Middle East will finally see peace thanks to the United States' new, effective policy. But reasons to worry do exist. Making a change in the world, especially a change for the batter, is usually a tall order indeed. And now that the US position is weakened, it is hard to imagine that a process of change will be more easily initiated at the Oval Office in Washington, than in Teheran or Beijing. Besides, failure to meet expectations is easiest when these are great expectations that can easily turn into a disappointment of equally great proportions. Very soon, speeches alone will no longer suffice. The United States will have to redefine on the march its approach to global issues, which show no intention of waiting till the Washington administration finally takes shape and gets ready to make decisions. In the discussion, we present expert opinions from both shores of the Atlantic on the Obama administration's prospects and related expectations, especially regarding transatlantic relations.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.