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Il Giornale, Italy

Fiscal Cliff, Foreign Affairs,
Internal Policy: Which Will Be
Obama’s First Steps?

By Lucio di Marzo

Translated By Juliana DiBona

7 November 2012

Edited by Gillian Palmer

Italy - Il Giornale - Original Article (Italian)

Reelected to the White House for a second term, Obama will have to deal with an opposing chamber in Congress. On his part, his advantage is considerable: He cannot be reelected for a third term. This could pave the way for clearer policies and more concrete decisions.

Tax system, immigration, public debt — but also education and the military. In Obama’s first speech just after being reelected, these issues were all present.

All of the above were mentioned in a speech that was more of a thank-you. But they were still very present. The electoral campaign is officially over. The results are final. And now the president can begin to think about new challenges.

The first obstacle that Obama should overcome in his new term is of a technical nature.

The electorate granted this result, but did not grant the majority in Congress. A majority Republican House and a Senate in Democratic hands do not guarantee that the president will have great freedom of movement. Rather, they may turn into a significant impediment that could presumably bring a long series of back and forth between Congress and the White House over the struggles that most divide the political spectrum.

In the last legislature, Obama lost his majority in the House after the mid-term elections of 2010. But even during the first two years of government, those in which the majority was assured, it was not easy.

With respect to the first mandate, the president also has an advantage. In 2016 he cannot run for reelection. And this will allow him to make more uncomfortable political decisions — which he confirmed yesterday, in one of the final speeches before the vote — without having to think about maintaining a high approval rating, not least in the view of an Obama-ter.

On the economic front, the first urgency is that of the fiscal cliff, the fiscal precipice. The Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has already announced a bipartisan appeal against a problem that “threatens to drag the United States into recession.”

According to his offices, one can expect the Democrats to work together on the issue. By December the United States will have to decide to make spending reductions and increase taxes. The deadline is January 1, 2013, when it will be triggered automatically if an agreement cannot be reached.

But it is not just domestic policy. Obama will face many different problems on the international front. From China, which begins an important conference inside the party tomorrow, to Syria in revolt, which has thus far seen little involvement from the United States, to the threat of a nuclear Iran, there are many scenarios of large importance in which the country will need to be active.

Notably absent in the debate dedicated to foreign policy was the European Union. But the Eurozone crisis could also reemerge as one of the points about which Obama cannot forget.



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