US President Barack Obama [Unlink] is due to deliver his State of the Union address in a few hours. Pundits are predicting what the guts of the address will entail. "White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama would outline 'his plan to create jobs and grow the middle class' as the nation struggles with persistently high unemployment," reports the Daily Mail.
The president faces an uphill struggle. America is a huge country with a range of valuable resources. Tough economic times have affected all nations. The US is no longer an island.
The vast continent of North America remains a leading world power. Long-standing commitments to fight terrorism have resulted in the US being embroiled in conflicts around the globe. Covert and overt missions are costly. They cost in many ways, such as manpower, money, resources and reputation.
In December, hot on the heels of the tragic massacre at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn., many Americans looked for a change in gun laws; a tightening of America's gun laws. The mood soon shifted as excuses for retaining the status quo rained down. There were even conspiracy theorists jumping on the bandwagon, with claims that Sandy Hook did not happen.
During the weeks that followed the school massacre, news of gun crime and unnecessary killing in the US continued.
Americans, though, have many issues to concern them, both at home and away.
The economy, unemployment, world trade, terrorism, the growth of Islamist militant groups, Israel, Palestine, nuclear development in countries such as Iran and North Korea, the environment and Syria. There are a range of other issues, too.
America needs to concentrate on the home front, but in the 21st century most nations are inextricably linked.
It has long been the case that where America goes, the UK follows. This applies in simple matters such as the weather. It is also true of trends, the economy and wars.
Americans and people from many countries will watch Obama's State of the Union address. Supporters will look for the positives in his words. Republican supporters in the US will look for any negatives. His speech will be analyzed, picked apart and interpreted in many different ways.
Americans know all too well that the president cannot please all of the people all of the time, but they will look for glimmers of hope. In an increasingly volatile world “hope” is a precious commodity.
Mankind is selfish. We should not generalize, but sometimes it is necessary. If Obama suggests tax hikes, services and jobs may be saved. However, someone has to pay the piper. Persuading people to pay more taxes is not easy, no matter how wealthy they are.
Politicians take the long view, especially when they are not facing an imminent election. Life is brief, though, and people may not be convinced. Taking nasty medicine now in order to maybe achieve a brighter future could be a step too far.
There is a reason Obama now has a head full of grey hair. Conspiracy theorists will no doubt claim that he has dyed his hair grey.