Posted by: Staff | 12.11.2008

Obama’s Policies- A History Forum Report

LUCY HICKS ’10

On November 5, 2008 at midnight, people around the world celebrated. This, of course, was prompted by Obama’s election to the Oval office. Obama’s triumph over racism and the change expected to take place in the White House was the main cause for this celebration.

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 “…The overwhelming reaction among those interviewed had nothing to do with Obama’s policies. It was delight that America had produced, on a grand scale, global scale, inspiring and overdue proof that the American dream was still alive,” says Kevin Sullivan, a writer for the Washington Post. To further educate our students about Obama’s actual policies, BCDS held a history honors forum to discuss the election. The forum mainly focused on Barack Obama’s foreign policies, and the effect they would have in the years to come. The forum included many topics, but focused greatly the Mid-East and Obama’s plan to move troops out of Iraq and into Afghanistan.

Many people agree with Obama’s plan to move out of Iraq, but this topic also raised many important questions. Most of the questions fit this general question: Is Iraq stable enough to run independently, or does it still need the help of the United States? Though the Iraqi government is currently unstable, it is unclear as to whether American troops in the country are helping or hindering the process toward a stable government. The majority of the crowd leaned toward retreating from Iraq. They felt that no progress can be made while the people we need to negotiate with oppose our presence.

Another important and interesting issue that comes along with the Obama presidency is the topic of increased occupation of Afghanistan. Obama wants to “focus on Afghanistan” by sending more troops into the country to fight Al-Qaeda. This policy triggered both support and criticism from the students in the history forum. Supporters argue that the war should be a priority- Al-Qaeda and their terrorist methods pose a threat to the United States and the entire world. They believe that we need to prevent their influence from spreading by continuing the war. Critics believe that Al-Qaeda can not be stopped solely through force. These people are willing to die for their god, so threatening members of Al-Qaeda with more violence death may only provoke them rather than squander their actions. Afghani citizens are “frustrated with the situation,” said journal Babakarkhail to Aljazeera.net. If the war is handled similarly to the way it has been dealt with over the past 8 years, it will be difficult for troops to make any more progress in Afghanistan.

The controversy over both Afghanistan and Iraq caused heated discussions among the members of our honors history forum. Though opinions were widely varied, all of the members agreed on one point: Obama’s future seems very promising. His policies may not perfect, but if executed with caution and care, they could likely produce the desired results.

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