Now that the dust has settled and we’ve all had a chance to either celebrate or not, let us ponder what this change in the White House may mean for the Horn of Africa. Granted, America’s overall foreign policy philosophy will not change, regardless of the Change Mantra we have gotten use to. Starting with the positives: an Obama Administration means diplomacy will have a significant role in bringing the warlords-led Transitional Federal Government and the opposition. Unlike Bush, Obama has the knowledge and pragmatism that many of the problems in Somalia require.
The negatives, however, maybe more than the positives – at least right now. Will President Obama reject anything that has to do with the Union of Islamic Courts? Will the same mentality in the State Department that has brought us such policies as handing out cash to warlords continue to prevail in Obama’s policy towards the Horn? Or will Obama’s two year stint in the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee give him an insight to develop a new course for the Horn? These are the $64,000 questions. For the first time since 1993, we Somalis should be optimistic for the future and expect some changes for the Horn’s gangsters, Abdillahi Yusuf & Meles Zenawi.