Much of the world cheered the November 6 re-election of U.S. president Barack Obama. But the president’s honeymoon may be short lived. Disappointment with Obama’s first term foreign policy may challenge both his popularity and his ability to present a positive image of the United States around the globe.
Prior to the election, overwhelming majorities in Western Europe, Japan and Brazil supported Obama’s reelection. But they were upset with signature elements of his foreign policy. In particular, a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project earlier this year found widespread opposition to drone strikes, a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s anti-terrorism policy, and many believe the president hasn’t sought international approval before using military force, as they expected he would when he first took office. In addition, publics around the globe say Obama failed to meet their expectations that he would tackle climate change and take an even-handed approach to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Four years ago, Obama came to office with the world behind him, reversing a decade-long trend of negative opinions of the U.S. Between 2008 and 2009, the percentage of Germans, French, Spanish and Indonesians expressing positive views of the U.S. increased by at least 25 percentage points, and double-digit increases were also evident in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Britain, India and Nigeria. Even in some Muslim countries, where Obama has never enjoyed broad popularity, the image of the U.S. saw modest improvements in Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon when Obama was first elected.
Read the full article, Obama's Re-election Win Sobered by Unmet Global Expectations, on the Pew Global Attitudes Project website.