It will be a world in which India along with China, Russia and Japan has risen in power, though no country would occupy a preeminent position. It would be a world with more social, ethnic and political conflicts aggravated by the global economic slowdown. That is the situation for Obama as seen by Gary Samore, Vice President, Director of Studies and Maurice R Greenberg Chair, Council of Foreign Relations, Karl Inderfurth, professor, practice of international affairs and director, international affairs, George Washington University and Vali Nasr, professor, international politics, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.
They were here to participate in the H T Leadership Summit. They spoke on "In search of order: America after Bush", a session held on the inaugural day of the summit yesterday.
In Mr Samore's view, while there would be many powers, there would be no nation or collection of nations which would be able to engage with the world like the US did.
Mr Obama will first have to think how to work with the G20 to contain global recession and reform the international financial system. Other tasks on his list of priorities will be ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, preventing Iran and Korea from going ahead with their nuclear weapon programmes, reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, defeating the jehadi terrorist threat and last but not least, dealing with global threats like climate change.
''Obama is likely to face a world of disorder. No matter how popular he is in the streets of Europe, the boardrooms of Europe and America have fundamental differences over how to run and reform the international financial systems. Obama's charm and appeal does not extend to Russia which remains in a sour and bellicose anti-American mood," Mr Samore said.
He did not think that the US intervention in Afghanistan could be ended soon and easily. Similarly the galore of unresolved internal conflicts in Iraq would make it difficult for Mr Obama to withdraw easily from Iraq either, Mr Samore felt. "Iran will present a special challenge and it remains to be seen whether Obama can assemble a strong international coalition to increase pressure on Iran if it refuses a genuine American offer to improve bilateral relations. Obama will inherit good bilateral relations with all major Asian powers," Samore said.
In his view Obama's biggest asset in handling these problems is that "he is not Bush." For Samore Obama's inexperience would not be a problem for long.
"He has surrounded himself with extremely experienced people," he said.
Samore, who has gained wide experience in international diplomacy and politics working under the administrations of Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and the two Bushes, says most US presidents learn quickly. "Within two years Bill Clinton knew more about foreign policy than his advisors," he said.
Underlining that to pursue order in today's world, one must have partner, Mr Karl Inderfurth said...''America, in many respects, has not been very "partner friendly" during the Bush years. America needs ' and must now reach out to international partners," he said.
Mr Vali Nasr felt that the economic slow down would have very adverse impact on the job situtation in the West Asia, thus affecting Indians also as large numbers of them were employed there. Thus Mr Obama would face a world with more number of the unemployed.