For 8 years, the Bush administration has systematically dismantled America’s reputation. People see us as arrogant and out of touch, as the country that brought you Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.
Colin Powell had this in mind when he endorsed the Big O last week. An Obama election, he said, “will not only electrify our country…it’ll electrify the world.”
The global impact of next week’s election will be huge no matter who wins, because “cooperation is essential to address 21st-century challenges,” according to NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. “You can’t fire cruise missiles at the global financial crisis.”
Indeed. So what do people in other countries think about the two candidates running for president of the United States of America?
It could not be clearer. Respondents in all 22 countries polled by the BBC World Service indicated they prefer Obama. Among those who expressed a preference, the average margin was four to one: 49% want the Big O, 12% favor Top Gun. The rest are undecided.
The biggest Obama backers were Kenya (87%), Italy (76%), France (69%), Australia (67%), Canada (66%), and Germany (65%).
People in 17 of the 22 countries think Obama can improve America’s international relations, whereas those in 19 of 22 countries believe things will remain unchanged during a McCain administration.
With respect to Obama’s African-American heritage, a majority in 15 countries indicated that his ascent to the presidency would fundamentally change their perception of America.
For lots of people, next Tuesday can’t come soon enough.