Foreign policy experts disagree on whether Barack Obama’s worldwide popularity matters.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says Obama’s personal popularity and the lift that it has given the US standing in the world will help in conducting foreign policy. But she stresses, “it is going to be very important for him to translate his personal popularity into the actions that are supportive of a different agenda.”
A sharply different view comes from former US Senator John Danforth. In addition to his three terms in the Senate, the Missouri Republican also served as President Bush’s envy to Sudan and was US Ambassador to the United Nations. “The net view that I have of this is that the popularity of the president and the increased respect for the United States doesn’t really mean anything in the real world,” Danforth says.
The world's view of Obama
There is little question about Obama’s popularity. A new survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project found that the image of the United States has improved markedly around the world as a result of the positive view of Barack Obama in other counties. The survey was conducted May 18 to June 16 in 24 countries and the Palestinian Territories and included interviews with nearly 27,000 individuals.
“We are documenting a revival of the global image in many parts of the world ... reflecting confidence in Barack Obama. Opinions about the US are now about as positive as they were at the beginning of the decade before George W. Bush took office,” says Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Project.