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Friday, June 6, 2008

How Obama Is Reshaping Our Image Abroad

One key reason why I support Obama is his potential to reshape America's "soft power" around the world. I don't think it has really sunk in yet for most people (and I suspect most people in this country really don't care) but an Obama presidency, on Day One, will go a long way toward regaining the international respect for America that Bush has squandered over the last 8 years.

A reader on the Daily Dish writes:

I am an American who is a graduate student in the UK, and I have been congratulated by people from around the world over the past couple of days for the Obama nomination. Strangers hear my accent, and want to talk about Obama. One British person said, "America didn't become the nation it did with guns and tanks; it became the nation it did with ideas. An Obama presidency represents everything that America has told the world about itself in the past century--and what the rest of the world wanted to expect out of America. The idea that you talk before acting, the idea that you make friends, not enemies, and the idea that anything is possible."

Another Italian told me, "Obama will cause my country to fall in love with America again."

Soft power?

Andrew Sullivan responds:

Most Americans have not quite absorbed the enormous blow to America's image abroad delivered by the Bush administration. Obama has helped erase it already.

2 comments:

Jamo said...

Ha! I just came over to your blog to make you aware of Sullivan's post and you've already got it up!

I find this sentiment very powerful and I think we Americans do not fully realize how much the world pays attention to our internal affairs as well as what we are doing abroad.

I have made a good friend in Sweden, which started as an internet 'pen-pal'. I think I am much harder on the US than he is as he is very charitable towards the US and its standing in the world. He also admires us for being willing to engage the world, realizing that sometimes we will be a 'bull in a china shop' (my words, not his). But this post from the grad-student really expresses my sadness at how we no longer 'walk our talk' in being a beacon of that forgotten concept Human Rights. I have already sent it to my Swedish friend.

BTW, I sent him a 'Deadheads For Obama' button that he says is 'like gold' in Sweden-a totally unique cultural gift from the US. He says he has been wearing it with pride. I guess I will have to send more Obama gear!

Joffi said...

"I don't think it has really sunk in yet for most people (and I suspect most people in this country really don't care) but an Obama presidency, on Day One, will go a long way toward regaining the international respect for America that Bush has squandered over the last 8 years."

That is a primary reason I switched my support to him in Feb. I listened to him speak. I read his last book. And then I thought, "Here is a man that will make me proud to be American again."