Peder with a D

[plays well with others]

What the Obama presidency represents to an expat

Posted by Peder on 25 January 2009

Pragmatism

Pragmatism a la 2004

I was 20 and in Germany during the 2000 presidential election. The night of November 7th, I sat up in my apartment until 4:00 am wondering what was going on with the numbers from Florida. By the time I returned from Europe, George W. Bush had been sworn in as the 43rd POTUS. During his first term I traveled to or lived in eight other nations, and as time wore on the questions about my President became more and more difficult. He was viewed as arrogant and ignorant — a horrible combination in leadership — and his unilateral approach to foreign policy was not well-received abroad, especially in its stark contrast to the approach of the previous administration. Suffice to say, George W. Bush made it more difficult to be an American overseas.

This morning I read an opinion article posted from an American living in Indonesia. Feel free to read the full text here, but I just wanted to republish an excerpt:

“A headline in one [Indonesian] paper summed it up: Welcome Back to the World, America. From Americans living overseas, this is the sentiment I most often hear. We’re not expecting miracles, but to have our leading spokesman again as interested in the rest of the world as we are, and as interested as the rest of the world is in him — this is a source of hope. And yes, that’s a change.”

It continues …

“In America, the big hope is that Obama can take care of some of the pressing domestic misfortunes — job loss, foreclosures, financial oversight. For the rest of the world, the bigger hope is that America is opening its eyes again, seeing itself as a partner in a broader future. For that latter group, [inauguration day was] a chance to say, yes, we’re watching too, and we’re celebrating.”

Photo credit: 10092007309.jpg posted by Yamica

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