According to a new Pew Research Survey of twenty-five countries, the image of the United States has improved dramatically since President Obama took office. In many cases, favorable views have reached or exceeded their levels from the year 2000.
Not that there was really anywhere to go but up. International approval of the United States had made huge drops during the Bush administration, no doubt in large part due to his bull-headed, aggressive statements, his antagonistic superior attitude paired with seeming ignorance, and his perceived warmongering. Add that to his religious fervor, declaring the war on terrorism to be a "crusade" and claiming his actions were due to God’s instructions, and you’ve got a recipe for international derision.
Quotes such as…
God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East.
I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe — I believe what I believe is right.
We’re now interested in finding those who may attack America and arrest them before they do. We’ve had over nearly a thousand people have been detained in America and questioned about their motives and their intentions.
…don’t foster confidence or benevolent feelings or pride in rational people.
Obama’s gentler tone and apparent willingness to speak to other countries without a self-aggrandizing air of superiority creates a much better atmosphere for productive conversations and beneficial outcomes. Rather than pronouncing that "We are America and what we say goes," he says, "Let’s talk about it and see what we can come up with together."
It’s refreshing, smart, and despite what the right-wingers say, it’s going to make this country a lot safer.