Publisher: African Studies Association

Superb Intentions and U.S. Policy Constraints

David S. Wiley
KEYWORDS: Superb Intentions and U.S. Policy Constraints


Barack Obama's election was an extraordinary event in American and world history, but already in his second year as president, the luster and the popularity of the Obama administration has faded, even among many who mobilized to elect him. In addition to righting two wars, Obama is attempting to fix a broken health care system in the context of a nationally contentious electorate and Congress. He also is coping with a mounting debt burden from seeking to recover from an economic collapse and public anger at an environmental disaster of mega proportions, requiring him to rein in the banks and corporations that were unleashed from public regulation during the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton years. In addition, he is commander-in-chief of the U.S. military and its rapidly expanding U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).This was an administration elected on “hope for change.” Indeed, Obama's election raised expectations across the U.S. and throughout Africa that a man of African heritage, indeed a global person, could be and had been elected. This quintessentially optimistic, intelligent, and gifted American is the product of a Kenyan father and an internationally engaged mother, a multicultural childhood, and a global education as graduate of a private secondary school and elite American universities, and he has been pinned simultaneously with American, biracial, African American, African, and even global identities (see Zeleza 2009).

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