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Barack Obama dissociating himself from Bush

MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Andrei Fedyashin) - U.S. presidents start their first morning not with the cabinet or advisor meetings but with the reading of the farewell letter which their predecessors usually leave on the table.

Accordingly, George W. Bush wrote a letter to his successor. The White House reported that Barack Obama read his letter alone for exactly ten minutes. Then he continued another tradition established by Ronald Reagan, and started disassociating himself from his predecessor's heritage. By this tradition, all incoming presidents immediately cancel the pending executive orders of outgoing presidents.

Judging by the fact that Obama ordered cancellation or suspension of more than two dozen Bush executive orders, some for legal and political review, Dubbya was really working hard in the last two months of his term. He left Obama more executive orders than all the presidents left their successors since Reagan's times.

Obama's start was incredibly energetic. He first convened all his economic advisors, and then the directors of security services and military leaders. In between economic and military consultations, he called the leaders of major Middle East countries: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas (Palestinians claim this was the first call), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and King of Jordan Abdullah. At the same time, the White House put on its web site the main foreign policy concepts during the first day of work. This is also unprecedented.

Obama is making an about face from Bush policy. Iraq has gone to the bottom of the list. The incoming team merely confirmed that it will "execute a responsible military drawdown from Iraq." Obama promised to withdraw troops from Iraq in 16 months after his election, but this task will obviously require more time

Instead, Iran has become a top priority. As president-elect, Obama vowed "tough but direct diplomacy" with Iran. Until now Washington hinted at the possibility of direct talks with Iran only if it completely stops nuclear arms development.

Under Bush, America was going to launch a new nuclear warhead program, whereas Obama promised to stop the development of new types of nuclear weapons. Washington will resolve nuclear problems in closer cooperation with Russia. Obama wants to transfer the war against terrorism to Afghanistan, where the United States will double its military contingent.

Obama faces the greatest difficulty with the economy. Although the White House has asked journalists not to compare Obama's first hundred days with those of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (they led to the New Deal and the U.S. economic recovery after the Great Depression), the new president would obviously like to repeat his success.

To begin with, he is going to ask Congress for another $800 billion for economic recovery in addition to the already approved $700 billion for banks. His economic recovery package is indeed similar to Roosevelt's, with due adjustment for modern times. Like Roosevelt, he is generally planning to build roads and expand transportation infrastructure.

The notes seem similar, but it is not clear what the music will be. America's problems are so serious that their resolution will require very meticulous efforts and serious tactical flexibility. Obama will definitely have to take sidesteps and back-steps more like a jam session than a marching band. Otherwise, he won't achieve much. It is clear that nothing will happen fast.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

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