How will Obama's win affect Gibraltar?

by JOE GARCIA: Change. That's what Obama has been offering and that is what the world is going to get. If the tentacles of power in Washington will allow him to.
As an American, people will have decided to vote Left or vote Right. As non-Americans that is not the issue. The issue is what will one party or the other mean for Gibraltar. Obama has won. So what does Obama as US President means for Gibraltar?
Obama's win will lead to change in America's relations with the rest of the world, and its role in it, as chief minister Peter Caruana put it.
Gibraltar is part of that world, and the changes will benefit and affect us like everybody else, he added. This is a new beginning in respect of many international issues of importance to us all.
That new beginning must not be allowed to be the end of this old Rock.
As Obama swings US policy to the Left of the political spectrum, he is bound to embrace those on the Left on the world stage.
The Spanish prime minister Zapatero has ceased to be the White House's friend, but now he is bound to recover lost ground with Obama in place. It is a game of wait and see. Let us see how far those relations go and how far they influence the UK and Spain as regards Gibraltar.
With the Republicans in power, we knew where we stood. They wanted Gibraltar to remain solidly British and to make use of military installations whenever it suited their world role.
But the feelers from the Spanish ruling Socialists is that Spain thinks that what they call 'the excessive American presence' in Gibraltar causes tensions with Madrid.
This is not understood in Gibraltar generally for two main reasons. In the first place, many people in Gibraltar will say that they do not see any American presence, except when a nuclear-powered submarine calls here a couple of times a year. Is that an excessive American presence?
Of course, there may be more than meets the eye. I will not dwell on that at this juncture.
The other reason is that the American presence in Spain is of a magnitude that dwarfs any presence here. So, why should the Americans here cause tensions when the Americans there do not - to the same tension-creating politicians in Madrid?
It is too soon to realise how elastic will American foreign and defence policy become with Obama in power.
Caruana says we are going to be affected like everybody else. What does he mean? Does he know? Does anybody else know? Certainly, if there ever was a time for effective lobbying in the States, this is it.




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