Chapter 7 Race first introduces the reality of racial conditions in US, and then broadly treats two topics — inner-city black community and immigration. Having read his first book Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, I understand how personal this chapter is to Obama. In a sense, it is a problem unique to US, and rooted in the history of the founding of the nation. Although there are a lot of passionate policy and big-picture discussion, what particularly touches me is some of the “petty slights” Obama experienced: “security guards tailing me as I shop in department stores, white couple who toss me their car keys as I stand outside a restaurant waiting for the valet, police cars pulling me over for no apparent reason.” Those are small things, but reflect broadly the reality of racial conditions in the States. Having Obama elected as the president surely serves as an inspiring tale for countless people.
Chapter 8 The World Beyond Our Borders deals with US foreign policies. It starts with an introduction of Indonesia, a country Obama lived during his childhood, and used Indonesia as an example to illustrate a mixed record of US foreign policies. Then it treats September 11, and two wars that followed. Much of this chapter mirrors what have been widely publicized on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Wars have evolved: A few days ago, US withdrew all the troops in Iraq; a few months ago, Bin Laden was shot dead; a more cohesive foreign policy was put forth by Obama, involving mainly the treatment of Libya and Egypt. As a Chinese, his discussion on the economic policy was less detailed than I would have desired, especially his treatment on economic competitions with China. However, I do strongly agree with what he wrote on requiring US “look in the mirror” on issues such as trade barriers. In the words of Bill Clinton, “people… have always be more impressed by the power of our example than by the examples of our power. “