Good luck, President Obama

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Good luck, President Obama

Barack Obama has been sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. The dream of America’s founding fathers, that everyone is born equal, has finally come true.

The Democratic Party and the Republican Party, the broad spectrum of people of various origins that make up the nation, men and women, youths and their elders, support Obama because they see in him a chance that America can change.

Since winning the U.S. presidential election last November, Obama has pursued integrative leadership and embraced his political enemies. He has proved that his slogan for bipartisan politics was more than a collection of words. He has selected suitable people for his cabinet and adjusted his election pledges in response to an ever-changing world.

Needless to say, Obama will have to take on the grave responsibility of executing concrete and coherent policies to unify his country. But as he has emphasized before, this responsibility should be borne on the shoulders of all Americans, not just his own.

Overcoming the economic crisis is the most urgent issue he has to face. In addition, the festering Israeli-Palestinian crisis in Gaza must be resolved and at the same time, sustainable solutions must be prepared. Withdrawing troops from Iraq and intensifying the military campaign in Afghanistan must not be delayed. Resolving the North Korean and Iranian nuclear issues must be resolved as soon as possible. Another urgent matter is climate change, which the U.S. has neglected so far. As these issues compete for Obama’s attention, the world will watch how he exerts “smart power,” a concept Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton promoted during her recent confirmation hearing.

For Koreans, the North Korea nuclear issue and the pending Korea-U.S. free trade agreement are of the utmost interest. The U.S. should try to balance resolving the North’s nuclear issue through close cooperation with South Korea while at the same time adopting a tough diplomatic stance.

The Obama administration needs to decide whether delaying approval of the bilateral trade deal with Korea and pursuing protectionism will serve U.S. national interests and the spirit of the Korea-U.S. alliance.

It is natural that Obama prioritizes U.S. interests. Therefore we may be disappointed sometimes. However, it is clear that the U.S. cannot do everything by itself. Obama must seek ways for both America and the world to prosper in peace.

We truly hope Obama’s presidency will be blessed with success.

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