Obama Wins Second Term, Challenges Await

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Washington– President Barack Obama Tuesday won a second term in the White House, scoring a clear victory over his Republican challenger Mitt Romney in a tight race focused on how to repair the ailing U.S. economy.

In his victory speech delivered at his Chicago campaign headquarters early Wednesday morning, Obama told ecstatic supporters that he looked forward to solving the country’s problems with Republicans.

Obama, 51, said he was returning to the White House more determined and inspired, promising to work with leaders of both parties to reduce deficit, fix tax code and work on immigration reform.

Obama, America’s first black president, also said he wanted to meet Romney to discuss ways to “move this country forward.”

Romney, a 65-year-old former private equity executive, conceded defeat at his Boston campaign headquarters.

CHALLENGES
Americans re-elected Obama for four more years, giving mandate to what many in the turmoil hit Muslim world believe is an unconstitutional war, an expanding drone program, codification of indefinite detention, and widespread government secrecy.

In fact, the mandate for those policies was far greater than Obama’s side of the vote count.

GOP contender Mitt Romney agreed with Obama on virtually every foreign policy and national security issue, from Iran to Syria, Israel to Egypt, the drug war to Afghanistan, and the pivot to Asia-Pacific.

Where voters saw a difference in this election was with regard to economic policies. The electorate was split over whether Obama or Romney was better equipped to magically create jobs via government coercion.

U.S. foreign policy, though, would have stayed the same regardless of which candidate won the election. Romney offered no alternative to Executive-ordered war without congressional approval; no alternative to an expanding and illegal drone war; no alternative to a federal government that spends upwards of $11 billion just keeping secrets from the American public; no alternative to sanctioning Iran for “a nuclear weapons program” U.S. intelligence admits Tehran doesn’t have; no alternative to the warfare-welfare-corporatist state.

TROUBLE FOR ISRAELI HAWK

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces an awkward time with Washington and re-energized critics at home who accused him on Wednesday of backing the loser in the U.S. presidential election.

With Iran topping his conservative agenda, Netanyahu will have to contend with a strengthened second-term Democratic president after four years of frosty dealings with Barack Obama and a rift over how to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.

Facing his own re-election battle in January, polls give Netanyahu little chance of losing but perceptions that he has mishandled Israel’s main ally have been seized on by opponents.

“I will continue to work with President Obama to ensure the interests that are vital for the security of Israel’s citizens,” Netanyahu said in a short, congratulatory statement hailing what he called strong strategic relations with Washington.

But in remarks underscoring a rift with the United States over possible Israeli military action against Iran, Netanyahu said in an interview broadcast on Israel’s Channel 2 this week: “If there is no other way to stop Iran, Israel is ready to act.”

Relations between Netanyahu and Obama hit a new low two months ago after the Israeli leader said nations which failed to set “red lines” for Iran – which denies seeking atomic arms – did not have the “moral right” to stop Israel from attacking.

Such comments, along with financial backing for Republican candidate Mitt Romney from a U.S. casino magnate who is also one of Netanyahu’s biggest supporters, were seized upon by critics as evidence the Israeli leader was trying to undermine Obama.

Netanyahu denied he was interfering in U.S. politics.

But former Israeli ambassador to Washington, Sallai Meridor, suggested that Obama would not easily forget that Netanyahu had created a perception that Israel wanted Romney to defeat him.
Obama is “very strategic, very disciplined”, Meridor said during a panel discussion on the U.S. election at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. Compiled from agencies

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