Indonesia: Questions for President Obama

Obama's victory celebration in Jakarta. Foto by: Daniel Giovanni from Flickr.

The enthusiasm of the Indonesian public, especially bloggers, about Barack Obama's inauguration is remarkable. This statistics alone can explain: between January 20-21, there are 27,968 blog entries that mention the word ‘Obama’. Furthermore, almost all national TV stations broadcasted live the inauguration last night (midnight in West Indonesian Time) and major newspapers put the event on their headlines.

Nevertheless, some commentators have begun to question Obama's inaugural address. Particularly, they were disappointed because Obama did not mention anything about Israel and its aggression over Palestine in the Gaza strip. For example this is what E. Billah said in his post “The Real Barrack Obama”:

Barrack Obama memang seorang tokoh yang pandai dalam berpidato. Sayangnya dalam pidatonya kemarin tidak sedikitpun Barrack Obama menyinggung tentang konflik Israel dan Palestina.

Barrack [sic!] Obama is indeed an incredible public speaker. Unfortunately, Barrack [sic!] Obama did not mention anything about the Israel-Palestine conflict in his speech yesterday.

I personally can understand the disappointment. But, perhaps we should keep in mind that it was an inaugural address as the President of the United States. Thus, local issues are more important to be pointed out for the Americans who have elected him as President.

Another interesting issue regarding the 44th President of the USA is whether he can make his economic reform plans work. Yanuar Rizky, a financial analyst who blogs at, disclosed the contributors behind the massive inauguration ceremony. He quoted the data presented by Center for Responsive Politics, a non partisan organization focusing on money’s influence on U.S. elections and public policy, that listed the biggest supporter of the event was “Securities & Investment”, which donated more than US$3.6 million.The sum of donation from the troubled finance, insurance and real estate sector reached US$7 million.

Based on the presented data, Rizky concludes:

Semakin jelas bahwa “wall street” tetap menanamkan kuku di setiap pemerintahan AS. Presiden Obama, dengan Menkeu alumni “wall street” tetap akan memperhatikan kepentingan industri sekuritas.

It becomes more clear that “Wall Street” is still investing their influence in every US government. President Obama, along with his “Wall Street alumni” finance minister, will still pay attention at the interests of the securities industry.

Thus, despite all the positive expectations from the Indonesian public, the choices that Obama will take during his years in the White House will decide whether he can deliver the “change” he has promised.

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