Originally Posted by Money4Nothing
All of those people who say that President Obama has "dramatically" changed the opinion of the US around the world have No Idea what they are talking about. I would be suprised if any of them have ever even been to another country recently.
Most people around the world like Obama as our president, and as a person, but few have changed their attitude about the US as a country. This is reflected in several European and Asian polls.
Anecdotally, I have spent the last couple months in the Middle East, talking with British, Australian, Pakistani, Indian, and Saudi nationals. Dozens of people, and without exception they all express the exact sentiment that I just mentioned. They like Obama, but have no reason whatsoever yet to change their opinion of America as a nation. Its not our politics they object to, but our culture.
Don't listen to pundits who are spinning agendas. Talk to people for yourself.
I say that Obama has affected a great deal of world sentiment vis-a-vis the US image abroad. Dramatically affected changes, even.
My source? I spent five months in Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras this past summer (working with the UNHCR out of San Jose), and about the same amount of time last year in Europe. The year before, I lived in Spain for a while, and while there made several trips to Morocco. I've spent considerable time in Eastern Europe including Bulgaria and Albania. I've spent about half my last four years or so overseas. I've seen
firsthand at local and professional levels abroad how the US was viewed, generally, during the Bush years; I've seen the change since 2009. Don't just discount every statement of "change" as punditry--the President's calm demeanor and intellectual deliberation doesn't play well in US 10-second soundbites, but that thoughtfulness and level of consideration is huge
overseas. Maybe the feeling on the street is different in the middle east, but it's not fair to say that the sentiment if Riyadh is in any way global.
As much as President Obama was getting fricasseed domestically for his involvement in the Honduran coup-that-kinda-was, his approach to a situation that necessarily
required a calm and reasoned approach probably preserved the recent quasi-peace of Honduras rather than tipping the balance toward the same military action of old. Can you imagine how cowboy diplomacy would have played out in the situation? I can; I was there on the streets in San Pedro Sula when the protesters for "Mel" claimed the bridge by the airport. I was in the corner Soda having a Barena with some locals, listening to them talk about the situation. There is no doubt about it: US ultimatum or threats of US intervention or reprisal would have escalated the already high local tension to levels that negotiation and time could not have lowered. The President's calm but unwavering insistence on the process for peace is
what led to the first talks in San Jose, and stayed the hand of the protesters looking for a reason to light that fuse.
That is one example, but it's a marked departure from the old administration--and it's the very kind of difference that leads to the "dramatic" changes that you are so quick to dismiss as mere talking points.