The world is still smiling…

Inspiration, Politics, Reviews, United States, World - other travel posts — By on January 27, 2009 12:06 AM

January 20, 2009: A collective smile thousands of miles long across America….

But what about the rest of the world?

Take a look at these photos of the big smiles on inauguration day all over the world and read about it from Christiane Amanpour: The world welcomes Obama with open arms, demands

For many abroad, an ideal has been renewed and a flood of hope is unleashed worldwide.

Throughout my recent travels hardly a day would go by when someone I met would discover I was American and want to know who I was voting for in the upcoming elections. I was proud to discuss my support for Barack Obama along with the reasons I planned to vote for him. Nearly every time the person inquiring heard my response they would let out a big sigh of relief and excitedly engage me in a political discussion regarding the potential changes to come.

Despite what many Americans believe, it seems foreigners are able to separate their animosity towards the Bush administration from their amicable relations with the citizens of this country. Many people were in fact quite vocal in their contempt and disappointment of the Bush administration, while being very friendly toward me. I eventually met a Bush supporter in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia when our Muslim cab drive told Nicole and I to “Tell President Bush hello”. We thought he was being facetious, but he turned out to be a big supporter of George W.

I cast my absentee ballot from Sydney where I, along with the rest of Australia, watched the polls come in on election-day. The Aussies I knew were thrilled with the outcome of our election.

It never ceases to amaze me just how many people there are from other countries that are so well-versed in American history and politics. It can even be said that some non-Americans are better informed than perhaps some of our own citizens. As Americans we can lean towards ethnocentrism and as a result, often know very little about the politics and issues affecting other countries of the world. I overheard a woman in Bali say “When America sneezes, the whole world gets sick”. Can we really afford to have an ethnocentric attitude when we exhibit the type of influence we have upon the world at large? Such an attitude coupled with rigid foreign policy (i.e.; invading Iraq without UN support) has lead us away from the world community and moved us closer to a future of foolish isolationism reminiscent of great nations past, prior to their downfall. Barack Obama provides hope that we will slip the noose from around our neck and prevail.

Needless to say, I was happy to return to America with Obama in line to take office. And here we are a week after the inauguration of America’s 44th President and 1st African American President the world is still smiling. I have received several messages from new friends all over the world expressing their excitement and support for Obama. I decided to take an international poll from others who I had met during my year of travels, and compiled their responses below regarding their thoughts on America’s new president.


“What’s exciting about Obama is not all of the good things he might be able to do, rather it’s all those good things he’ll encourage others to do. The importance of having him in the White house is really the reaction he’ll get from others, since he alone can’t change the world. If he’s true to his word, people around the world will hopefully be less defensive and more pragmatic. And that’s the real “change” he’ll accomplish. In sum, it’s not about what he’ll do but about what others will do in reaction to his actions.”

Roshan – Sweden


I am so excited about Barack Obama……..big positive changes coming up!

I think everyone loves him because he gives people hope…….and people ‘feel’ like there is someone who cares about them…….and also people feel like there is someone who’s in charge who knows what he’s doing. Bush always reminded me of a teacher who couldn’t control the class…….and he seemed a bit cock eyed……like a pye ball horse……a bit un-hinged. Am feeling so much safer now in the hands of Obama.

Madeleine – Ireland


I think Obama is the best thing to happen to America in a generation. From what I’ve seen and heard on TV he seems to be determined to restore America’s ethical and moral reputation globally and he seems to have a genuine interest in finding solutions to persistent problems internationally (ie. deploying George Mitchell to the Middle East). Shame that it took so long to get rid of Bush but the future looks in good hands.

Trevor – Ireland


I’d have voted for him Kelly, got a lot of time for your new Pres! I imagine he’s busy at the moment scrubbing all the crayon marks off the walls of the Oval office left by Dubya! 😉 In fact he can run the UK too…it practically belongs to the States anyway and we need rid of the horrendous waste of oxygen currently in charge…

Mark – UK


Barack Obama has a lot of great, new ideas but he still has to prove himself as being successful as the new President. Of course, things cannot get any worse than with George W., and that is the general opinion of the Dutch people. I do not think a lot of people in Holland approve of many of the things George W. did, said or instated. He was seen as rather incompetent and as someone who did not seem to care for all Americans, but only for the ones who were wealthy. The war in Iraq is very disputed in Holland, with America seen as the aggressor. Currently the Dutch government is under a huge amount of pressure as the result of their decision to support America in the Iraq war, believing there really were WMD. Especially now, with so many lives lost and the truth out in the open, the common opinion is strongly against the war. Events as have taken place in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Graib are seen as a huge violence against basic human and legal principles.

Barack Obama takes off on a positive note: closing down Guantanamo Bay and by calling the Hamas leader on his first day in the White House. He makes an appeal to all American citizens to show more solidarity instead of cold capitalism and materialism.

He recognizes the importance of alternative energy, he wants every citizen to be able to have access to affordable health care. Besides his radiant optimism, Obama also portraits a certain amount of humbleness that is something new to a lot of Americans and yet something to aspire to for a lot of people. We have high hopes for all the positive changes that Obama is going to assist in. Whether it is a decision he takes himself, or a change he encourages by just being there as a leader. YES, YOU CAN!!!

Peter & Evelien – Netherlands


Hearing the Inaugural and the Welcoming speech of Obama has struck me with his poignant, eloquent , heartwarming words that I actually caught myself in tears brought by feeling of awakening hope that left me semi-euphoric.

He does remind alot of people including me, visions of what one of our world’s great leaders in the past like JFK, who had a VISION of embracing and becoming of what “change” we want to be , to have, to see, to live and to feel.

I think, in one of his most recent talk on finding solution in energy, coal and fuel, will make cause or start of real evolution of time in advancement in technology.

I think alot of the problems going on around the world right now… the recession… caused by the lack of funds due to lack of ability to pay of buyers in trading and many other industries, and the consumers as end users from the many different retail industries…. all of these and others I may not have mentioned or know, are part of the cause and effect of what was rooted by oil war that has been happening many years ago and some are just discovering it now, while many still don’t know about it.

I don’t know everything that’s going on, and we sometimes don’t know what is beneath what we can see only in the surface…. but I do know this… that Obama being the new President has already created a tremendous change in History. And that I do believe Obama can and will make that Good Change that we all need amidst this time of crisis around the world.

Annabelle – Philippines


I think right now it all seems a bit to good to be true.

Bridgette – Australia

I don’t really watch the news and learn about politics, thus I ask my dad for your question. And he said US is similar to Taiwan now. Both of our new president promised to give people a better life but it’s almost impossible now because the economy problem is international and nobody can change anything.

Therefore soon people will find out this and start to feel disappointed. That’s his point of view.

Huei-Ting – Taiwan


Obama seems like a nice shot of penicillin the U.S. needs.

Obama’s existing reputation is deemed so high, I believe, because Bush’s reputation has been anchored so low.

While I’m not a huge fan of Bush I don’t believe he was as bad a president as the media paints.. ie. does the media paint Osama bin Laden or Bush worse.. I’m not sure anymore.

I’m not into conspiracy theories, along with a few stupid decisions I believe alot of Bush’s poor image was fueled by and endless swath of strange conspiracy theories. ie. Bush lead the U.S. government to cause 9/11 to attain fuel and Bush set up the trade centre bombing. I believe the U.S. government is mostly sane (including the government led by Bush) and to conspiracy theorists that would not agree I would highlight YouTube is not a source of legit info.

I see Bush as a very average president but he is not the devil incarnate, he was elected during a sh!tty period and was forced into a presidency that was always going to paint an enormous target on his back.

On the other hand the media is manipulative and dangerously biased.

Without going too deep; I believe Bushes 2 primary (internationally relevant) flaws were:
1. he went into the mid east without support of the U.N.
2. he burnt relationships with old allies (ie. old Europe)

A positive that came out of this mess is the U.S. must now see one country cannot presume they have been gifted with an enlightened position in the world even against a small enemy. It is not the U.S. that can change governments but the U.N. and public opinion. the U.N. needs to really sorts its Sh!t out and do what it was suppose to.

Now onto Obama, seems like a nice guy but expectations are far too high. Obama has the convenient symbolic specs ie. hes black with a Muslim name, hes young not born into elitism but he appears well educated. Its so far purely symbolism, but its surely needed.

He seems (right now) exactly what the U.S. needs but, in a few months Obama will not be painted in such a pretty frame. I do believe alot of the U.S. assume terrorism will now just fade away, Obama’s presidency a quick fix. Its obvious a hell of a lot needs to be sorted out within American borders, its hard to tell other lands how to behave when the world sees the U.S. level of corporate corruption and at street level drive-by shooting cultures. Can his black skin colour turn that around.. I think people are unfairly expecting it.

Internationally Obama needs to:
1. mend old international friendships, The U.S. needs to face a future where they no longer hold economic and military sway over the rest of the world with the emergence of China and soon India.
2. reign the finance sector, take control of the process that allow uncontrolled corporate greed. greed is is not good and Gordon Gecko is not a role model.

I hope he does as well as people are expecting. I also hope he watches every grassy knoll.

Troy – Australia


I would definitely have voted for him. Don’t know if press in UK was biased towards him though as everyone here seemed to favour him.

Katharine – UK


You know my views on G.W. Bush and that he was not the tyrant that the majority of the left wing aged 20-30 years believe. However, I do believe that B. Obama is exactly what America needed. The people of the USA and their allies around the world seemed to exhibit abandonment. That their country had failed their civil duties. A saying in politics is that u do not vote party’s in rather you vote them out. This is how I see the Democrats election win over the Republicans. I believe that Obama and the Democrats are able to rectify the USA international standing. This has been the course of American politics over the past few decades.I do believe that the USA is the second greatest country (to Australia), and that this will be achieved.

Obama, i can appreciate where he has come from. What he represents. What he stands for. The little man etc. I do hope that he institutes change. I believe that in easier times this change may have been more severe. Due to current crisis within US and the world the issues that brought him into office may be sidetracked. Which is disappointing.

I want him to succeed. I want the US to regain their standing. I believe that this will happen.

Danny – Australia


I don’t think that I represent a entire country, but I think Obama is a great new chance for the USA. I hope he can handle all the pressure and make your people happy. Furthermore I hope he is going to stop the aggressive politics and the war. This is my opinion.

Phillip – Germany


It seems as though the world is hopeful.

“We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.” Barack Obama

Barack Obama may be facing the toughest times in his country’s history, but he is starting with a world of best wishes.

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