Barack Obama a Year Later: The World View

The day Barack Obama was inaugurated the 44th president of the United States, there were parties all around the world. Kenyans danced in the streets, celebrating their "native son's" presidency. Obama's former school friends in Indonesia cheered for "Barry!" Television sets in Kabul were tuned into the satellite channel carrying the ceremony. The small Japanese town of Obama held a special event where residents wore Obama T-shirts and munched on Obama noodles into the wee small hours.

World Reacts to Obama Win

A year later, is this global euphoria still in evidence? ABC News asked some of its reporters to assess the president's image overseas.

Click on the country name here to read what's on the mind of the people there: Afghanistan | Pakistan | Russia | France | Italy | The Middle East | Japan | China | Kenya | Britain


President Obama has committed 30,000 more U.S. troops to fight the war in Afghanistan, so with the focus clearly shifting from Iraq to this conflict, it can be seen as the move that could define President Obama's time in office vis-a-vis his foreign policy.

According to Daud Sultanzoy, an independent Afghan member of parliament, the presidential elections that were marred by fraud allegations last year created a delay for President Obama in dealing with Afghanistan.

"He started off late," Sultanzoy said. "With regards to the elections, that wasted a lot of time for the Afghans. And for the U.S., that was an unfortunate delay that nobody was prepared for. We are basically a little behind the curve. The U.S., I think, is a little behind the curve.''

But Sultanzoy added that progress has been made since.

''I think that some of the issues they were grappling with -- like the new strategy for Afghanistan, Gen. McCrystal's report, all of them -- are related to what we were talking about three or four years ago. Nobody was paying attention to it, and I am glad that he has picked up on that.''

Sultanzoy said people in Afghanistan have been waiting for decades to see some kind of change and now, he said, the nation has ''an opportunity of this sort.''

President Obama's speech to the Muslim world in Cairo last June brought with it a message of dialogue and diplomacy, but Sultanzoy said that is not enough.

''Mr. Obama cannot move a magic wand and change things," he said. "We need action on many fronts -- for example, when it comes to the Palestinian issue, when it comes to the Afghan issue, the Iranian issue, the Chinese and the Russians and the rest of the region here. There are countries, their leaderships, there is politics, so he's not the only player, he can play his role, but everybody else has to play their role.''

After a year in power, is President Obama seen as a success or a failure?

''Just the dialogue alone is a major difference," Sultanzoy said. "He has many problems, he's not out of the woods, but he is on the right track."

On the streets of Kabul, however, the tone is different. Many want more than just promises.

Mohammed Naveed, a 22-year-old student said he hasn't seen any significant changes to the United States' foreign policy.

''Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay," Naveed said. "This was something he campaigned for, and so far it remains open.''

But he remains hopeful.

"I am still optimistic," he said. "It will take some time to put into action all the promises made.''

The issues of safety and security resonate with many in the capital.

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