I hate to break it to you world, but Obama is still American

Obama Unlikely to Find a Quick Fix for U.S. Global Image (Pew Research Center):

No question that Barack Obama has a great personal following around the world, especially in comparison with President Bush. But to restore the global image of the nation he now leads, the new president must overcome a number of fundamental criticisms. And issues arising from the global economic crisis and other world problems on Obama’s agenda seem likely to resonate with key criticisms about America’s leadership in the Bush years. . .

. . . While President Obama has been extremely popular personally, his international agenda may not be, given the global mindset about the U.S. Take for example his desire to gain more European support for the war in Afghanistan. In 2008 most Europeans surveyed by Pew Research, save the British, favored withdrawing NATO troops from that country. An American president urging reluctant Europeans to use force is hardly likely to allay concerns about U.S. militarism.

Then there is Obama’s economic stimulus plan encouraging consumer spending and entailing greatly increased budget deficits. This apparently strikes at least some European leaders as reckless. The new president’s efforts to sell this policy approach may well feed into the prevailing notion of the U.S. going its own way in dealing with mega international problems.

Even more importantly, . . .

. . . while it seems likely that other nations will, in general, react favorably to Obama’s style and more conciliatory approach compared with President Bush, that will only go so far and so long in changing minds about what America stands for and its global leadership. In the end, actions — and their consequences — will resonate more widely and strongly than words.

7 thoughts on “I hate to break it to you world, but Obama is still American

  1. I hate to say : “He’s another US President”!
    Sorry world!

  2. steph says:

    I don’t get it. Are you implying that the rest of the world are just going to have to accept that it is part of the American empire because the president will always be American and the boss? What image does it want to restore?

    • Ben says:

      I’m more saying how the American presidency shapes the man more than we expect or hope. Regardless of our hopes for him coming in, the realities of the office, the American political system, and the priority of American interests start taking hold. I’ve personally watched the same transformation happen to our past two presidents (but everyone seems to have short memories).

  3. Simon says:

    Vanity vanity! All is vanity!

  4. steph says:

    You’re not old enough 😉 However, are you implying that Bush started out good and only later became so power crazed and imperialistic? He was always a warmonger, gun toter and an inarticulate twit wasn’t he?

  5. Ben says:

    I’m still hopeful that vanity this time around will be better ;-).

    Steph, I was 22 when Clinton was elected. I’m not saying anything about the individual character of each man. I’m also not as into Bush bashing as everyone else seems to be. Yes, he made some huge mistakes and hindsight is 20-20. But go back and look at some of his campaign ideals, and I think he meant them at the time.

    I’m still optimistic about what can happen, but I think the world (broad generalization alert) has been way too idealistic about what could happen. The reality is that once someone is inside the oval office, the world starts to look different and other forces take hold.

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