I get to talk to a lot of international journalists and recently they have just one question: what difference will a President Obama make to the rest of the world?
You can tell that 95% of them are pro-Democrat and very pro-Obama, so the assumption they make is that everything will change. But as cynical hacks the second assumption they make (and inevitable corollary of the first) is that we will all be disappointed.
So I try to steer a more realistic course, as in this interview with the Toronto Star:
“Right now there is an enormous residual ‘turning off’ when Americans speak. The feeling is that during the Bush era, ‘They caused mayhem, they ignored the world, they didn’t listen to us – so why should we listen to them. Now the conversation will renew.”
In a sense, that is all politicians can do. They can reboot political conversations. In the face of intractable military engagements and an economic disaster, that would be a significant success for a President Obama.
Of course, he has to win first.