The actual election may be over – with the Florida vote finally in and being called for President Obama on Friday – but the coverage of U.S. politics in the international media continues unabated. Scattered throughout the predictable stories looking at how country X’s relationship with the U.S. will fare in a second Obama term, here are a few unusual perspectives we’ve come across.
The Archon speaks. In the Indian news magazine Outlook, Saba Naqvi laments the fact that she has yet to hear an Indian politician deliver a speech that’s as inspirational as Obama’s was Tuesday night. Yes, she admits, “Obama’s victory speech is actually full of fluff and non-committal generalities.” And that the teleprompter is a major part of the magic. “But,” she writes, “it hits the right notes, is full of positive emotions, no negatives, and is delivered beautifully.”
“…wouldn’t it be a great improvement in the quality of public discourse if the new generation of young politicians (of whom we keep hearing about) could employ some decent speechwriters, master reading off the teleprompter and perhaps also deign to sit through a few lessons in theatre to learn the techniques of timing and delivery?”
Barack Obama and the Three Tests – “the opera.” Sticking to a theatrical theme, J Brooks Spector, the American diplomat turned South African resident, political analyst and music critic (whew!) likens the Obama presidency to the plot line of Mozart’s opera, the Magic Flute. In the opera the hero X must pass three tests — fire, flood and a labyrinth — to get his bride. And Obama? Well, first there was the financial meltdown, then there were the floods of Sandy and now there is the labyrinth of the fiscal cliff. And, this being reality, the tests are of course more than three. Just think of the hair raising international agenda.
The core problem for a president, any president, is that unlike an opera, in foreign policy the fat lady never really comes on stage to sing and send everybody out into the night air, relishing a magnificent, decisive resolution of the tangled plot. With foreign policy, there is always another entanglement that must be addressed… But that is the essence of the search for a historical legacy – and a legacy is goal number one in every president’s second term of office
The re-election of Obama is bad news. And from Eastern Europe a bracing note of discord. Romania Libera pulls no punches, especially about Obama’s potential legacy in foreign affairs given his tendency during the first term to shy away from global leadership:
Over the last four years, [Obama’s] barely concealed, albeit fully demonstrated, contempt towards traditional US allies – Britain, Poland, Japan – and his almost total lack of interest in new allies in Eastern Europe…have highlighted the cynical but naive approach of this president who believes he can deal with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin like a Chicago politician deals with Mafia bosses.