Could an Obama Win Restore America's Global Image?

In the Berlin speech, Obama emphasized terrorism, security, nuclear nonproliferation and climate change as campaign priorities, all topics that resonate powerfully with a global audience.

Obama has been similarly embraced by the masses in other European states. Among the French public, only 1 percent would want Sen. John McCain as president, according to a poll by France 24, a news and current affairs television channel. In France, Obama's rise revived the discourse about racial minorities there, where blacks and Arabs have long complained of being politically marginalized.

Asia's Approach

In Japan, where approval of the United States has dropped 11 percentage points since last year -- roughly half of Japanese people disapprove of America -- Obama has a strong fan base. The epicenter of enthusiasm is the coastal enclave of Obama City, Japan. The local population of 32,000 has embraced the senator, who happens to share their city's name.

"Mr. Obama does not feel like a stranger to us," said Seiji Fujihara, secretary general of a gathering known as the Group that Supports Barack Obama Voluntarily.

"We both carry the name Obama, and he is like a relative. If Mr. Obama becomes the president, we will form a delegation and try to visit him at the White House. That would be awesome."

Kingston said, "People feel that if America is ready to elect a black man president, it's a good sign that America is living up to its own ideals.

"For the Japanese, who have long felt the sharp edge of American racism, this is a welcome thing."

In China, the rationale behind support for Obama varies.

"I prefer Obama to be the president, because he is a black man," said Zhou Yan, a student of diplomacy and international studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University. "It will be very revolutionary, because it means black people have ... equal rights with white people in America."

Shi Yinghong, director of American Studies at People's University in Beijing, said that the global financial crisis has turned more Chinese attention to the U.S. election.

"Chinese were generally neutral. Now they more favor Obama over McCain," Yinghong said.

"If there were no financial crisis people would be more concerned for the colors of the candidates. But now overwhelmingly ... hopes and fears are conditioned with the financial crisis. Less people are concerned about black or white."

Around the world, non-Americans eager to weigh in are expressing themselves through Web sites like Voices without Votes and The World Wants Obama.

The Middle East

In Israel, fans of the Illinois senator are reaching out to quell fears of an Obama presidency through a video called "Israelis for Obama," which has been posted on YouTube and at the Jewish Journal.

Halfway through the video a handful of Israelis chant his middle name, Hussein, as if to debug it of any stigma.

In other corners of the Middle East, a potential Obama win would help restore the image of America among allies and adversaries.

"I think someone like Obama would make a huge difference," said Hafed Al Ghewell, a Libyan-American living in Dubai.

"It would be an incredibly pleasant statement to the world from the United States, both that the U.S. is still the most capable country of correcting itself and the country that is able to go beyond the expectations of the world."

Page
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...