The Texas cowboy has faded into ignominy. George W Bush is history. Eight years of disaster for America and for the world. No other US president has done greater damage to America's intrinsic values and to its global prestige and credibility. Domestically, he is known for his overreach of "presidential prerogative" in justifying a snoopy fray against his own people. It was an assault on America's civil liberties. In international context, he never practised what the US had always stood for and preached globally. America's ideals and values were either ignored or violated with impunity. He accomplished Thomas Paine's vision of a United States great enough "to begin the world over again." Indeed, George W Bush did begin the world over again. He turned it upside down and threw it in turmoil. It was a different world altogether, woefully chaotic and painfully violent. Armed conflict, injustice and oppression became its hallmarks. Wars of aggression and attrition, invasions in the name of self-defence, military occupations, massacres and genocides, human tragedies and humanitarian catastrophes, and a culture of extremism and violence defined the "new world order." The causes that breed despair and defiance became causes clbre. The War On Terror did not go beyond retribution and retaliation. Global development agenda was set aside. Internationally agreed development goals and commitments were replaced with new priorities and preoccupations driven by a new economic adventurism. An overbearing global security agenda became the alibi cover for "new imperialism" conceived by the neocon authors of The Project for the New American Century. A new unipolarity returned to haunt the world which was no longer governed by the rule of law or universally established norms. The neocon agenda justified fuelling of situations that would allow America's unabashed use of military power anywhere in the world. George W Bush unleashed a global onslaught in the name of "self-defence." He used a fake casus belli to launch an illegal war on Iraq, and caused the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians. He also authorised torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. George W Bush conducted himself as an omniscient sage who was in direct communication with God. He claimed to be driven with a mission from God. "God tells me, George go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan. And I did. Then God tells me George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq. And I did." In the name of God, Bush played havoc with the world. He also had a divine mission to protect and strengthen world's military dictators and authoritarian regimes. He used them as pawns of his global belligerence. The most blatant example was his blind support to Pakistan's military dictator General Musharraf who was asserting his personal relevance in the US War On Terror only to legitimise his regime. Bush made Musharraf's Pakistan an ally and a target at the same time. In recent years, the Bush Administration's blatant meddling in Pakistan's internal affairs crossed all limits. No wonder the people in Pakistan were angry at the US for its Musharraf-specific focus. In the context of South Asia, George W Bush ignored the region's historic realities and built a strategic and nuclear alliance with India at the cost of Pakistan's legitimate concerns and security interests. He forgot that the policies that create strategic imbalances in the region and fuel an arms race between the two nuclear-capable neighbours with an escalatory effect on their military budgets and arsenals were no service to the peoples of the two countries. The region now suffers the worst instability of its history. Washington's overbearing global conduct during the Bush era, no doubt, has sparked unprecedented anti-Americanism reflecting global aversion to the US unilateralism, its might and power, its self-righteousness, its international conduct including the blatant use of force in Iraq and elsewhere, its intrusions on other states' national sovereignty, and in Robert McNamara's words: "Its contempt for moral and multilateral imperatives." No outgoing US president has had poorer approval ratings at the time of leaving his office. What an end for a man who claimed to have started out wanting "to restore honour and dignity to the White House" ending up "scraping all the honour and dignity off the White House." No wonder, he received a "farewell gift" in Baghdad with two big shoes hurled at him in full force and in public gaze. The first one was a "goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people" and the second represented the torment of all those killed in Iraq and their widows and orphans. Bush ducked both times. "You know what? It was size 10 shoes that he threw at me", he was frank enough to admit. But he cannot duck history's verdict which is already coming out. Even his most loyal White House Press Secretary, Scott McClellan in his book What Happened describes his boss as a "delusional, disconnected arrogant, ideological flop" whose two-term tenure was no more than a "bumpy" boomerang journey from being "family black sheep" and "famous screw-up" back to "family black sheep" and "famous screw-up." Against this backdrop, the change of leadership in Washington brings a watershed opportunity for "remaking of America" and for a change of direction in its thinking and behaviour towards the rest of the world. Now that the Bush era comes to an end, his legacy must also come to an end. The new US president, Barack Hussein Obama has himself described the Bush era as a "bleak chapter" in America's history, and vowed to restore what he called "our lost sense of common purpose" by acclaiming "America, we are better these last eight years." America, indeed, is better than these last eight years. Across the globe, there is a new mood altogether on the prospect of change in America's global policies and outlook. There is a feeling that for the first time since John F Kennedy, America has a different kind of leader. Obama's presence at the White House not only gives a new "facelift" to the US but also embodies hope for change. He promises a new America for the Americans and for the world, an America which hopefully would be at peace with itself and with the rest of the world. In his inaugural address after taking oath this Tuesday, Obama acknowledged that "we are in the midst of crisis." He then listed the multiple challenges of his terrible legacy which includes wars, global image erosion, shattered economy, depleted social security, healthcare crisis, and decaying education system. Obama declared exuding confidence: "Today, I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. But know this, America - they will be met." In his election campaign, Obama had been explaining how he would make the difference in America's policies and in the lives of Americans as well as those of the people of the world. At home, he will seek to revive an economy suffering worst meltdown in more than half a century. Abroad, he has pledged to end the war in Iraq and defeat Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. He ran on a platform to change the country and its politics. He wants to "remake" America. Now he must begin to spell out exactly how. What he cannot afford to ignore at this juncture is that a heavy responsibility lies on his shoulders. Obama has no magic wand but he can at least restore America's moral standing so that it quickly recovers from its global alienation and perception as an "arrogant superpower" with "interventionist, exploitative, unilateralist, and hegemonic policies and double standards." He must redress the root causes of global anti-Americanism. In remaking America, Obama must not forget "the principle of justice to all peoples and nationalities, and their right to live on equal terms of liberty and safety with one another, whether they be strong or weak" that his fellow democrat predecessor, President Woodrow Wilson had spelt out in his famous 14-point congressional speech in January 1918. Wilson's ghost doesn't have to come to remind Obama that to make "the world safe for every peace-loving nation which wishes to live its own life and determine its own institutions, it must be assured of justice and fair dealing, and that unless justice is done to others it will not be done to us." Obama's line is clearly drawn. He must go ahead and do it. Can he do it? The writer is a former foreign secretary