Europe, Canada and US,

Even before the euphoria evaporates, analysts are preaching gloom and doom for Obama on the home front, says Eric Walberg

29/1/9 -- The easy part is over. A flourish of executive orders closing Guantanamo, dismantling much of president George W Bush's architecture for the "war on terror", allowing family planning promotion abroad. The hard part has begun. United States President Barack Obama is faced with an economy in galloping depression, the worst since the 1930s on all counts.

More tricks and hot air from across the Atlantic leave Europeans in the cold, observes Eric Walberg

12/11/9 -- A hurried resolution to the Ukraine-Russia gas war was reached during a visit to Moscow by Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko to meet with her Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin in mid-January. Ukraine finally agreed to pay higher European prices for Russian gas from 2010, with a 20 per cent discount for 2009.

The disastrous Bush years have left a legacy of war and financial collapse. They have also brought North America to a political impasse, bemoans Eric Walberg

1/1/9 -- The truly extraordinary political event in North American politics as 2008 came to a close was not the albeit remarkable election of the first US black president, but the collapse of Canada's parliamentary system.

Disappointment follows disappointment with each "new" face, bemoans Eric Walberg, but there is a sort of silver lining

27/11/8 -- Yes, we mustn't expect too much. We all know it is the establishment that comes first in United States politics. Obama's presidency could easily be sabotaged by the powers that put him there.

But still. He would never have made it past the first, obscure primary without his army of selfless, grassroots activists, and his coffers were first filled by millions of small, personal donations. Surely these are the people he should honour with at least a few names.

This Wall Street bailout -- yes, bailout, not "rescue" -- is yet another boondoggle by the neocons, pulled out of bankers' back pockets, and being enacted in an atmosphere of panic orchestrated and spread around the world to make sure it got passed ASAP. A bankers' 9/11: implode a few bank towers to make sure the system as a whole survives.

9/10/8 -- As the dust settles, it is clear that nothing much about our casino capitalism is about to change at all. But what is to be expected from the likes of United States President George W Bush? Joseph Stiglitz comments, “This ‘cure’ is another one of these rearrangements: by stripping out the bad assets from the banks and paying fair market value for them, the value of the banks will soar.”

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here