It has only been about 10 days since the world discovered the next President of The United States will be Barack Obama, and already there is a sense of less anti American rhetoric. Americans living and working abroad were the first to notice this almost before John McCain’s concession speech.
This most certainly spells out that the position of out going President George Bush actually caused more problems than it solved. Perhaps not so much on a political level, but on interpersonal levels between Americans abroad and the people that they encountered.
Much of this no doubt comes from visual cues as President elect Obama looks more like the rest of the world. Human males respond to visual cues and body language much more so than human females. It is just how men are wired by nature. It does not take much looking to dig back into history to see that the color of a person’s skin was once a major consideration in how that person was treated.
Even today in some countries there is an attempt to lighten the skin. In retrospect this unnatural white look appears to be unhealthy as people turn pale just before they die. It suggest the person has some illness and should be avoided as it may be contagious.
The fact now that the American presidency is no longer an elite club for white males sends a symbolic message about the changing America.
As the euphoric feeling of Obama winning the election fades, reality check sets in. The new President will face significantly more challenges than the average change of power. On the home front there is the economy that is of global concern. There will no doubt be challenges from countries wanting to see what this new president is made of. This happens like clockwork so expect that to happen inside the first 6 months of Obama’s presidency that starts on January 20, 2009. Some head of state will decide to mouth off testing to see what Obama’s response will be. North Korea and Iran are the early favorites to mouth off first.
When it comes to the war in Iraq and Obama’s desire to pull out, Obama will soon face a reality check. What a person wants and what needs to be are often not the same. Saying that, US foreign policy will need to be flexible and adaptive based on changing world conditions. To be static only invites problems down the road. The flexible policy will no doubt help international relations. There are some positions that should not change like the stance on terrorism but for the most part a lot can.
When it comes to global warming the whole world is waiting to see how Obama will integrate the needed changes into the new economy. The bottom line is the world has become a little more receptive and a lot less tense when it comes to America and Americans. The key goal is to keep it that way, so we can do what we need to do to survive ourselves as a species.