Whether you're PRObama, NObama, or still undecided, 52 Reasons to Vote for Obama gives you all the information you need to share with friends, debate with relatives and decide for yourself as we head toward one of the most important elections of our lifetime. I'll post a new reason in random order every Monday through Friday from now 'til the election.
Barack Obama acted quickly to repair America's reputation abroad, traveling to twenty-one foreign countries during his first year in office, shattering the previous records of fifteen held by George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford.
His efforts to strengthen alliances and international partnerships and to promote democracy, free trade, and the rule of law in a globally interconnected world have helped to rebuild international support for the United States and restore the American brand abroad.
His proactive efforts to win friends and influence people around the globe stand in stark contrast to the failed unilateralist approach of George W. Bush, whose cowboy style turned off much of the world. Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, particularly in arms control, less than nine months after taking office. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France said at the time that the award signaled "America's return to the hearts of the world's peoples," while Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany remarked, "In a short time he has been able to set a new tone throughout the world and to create a readiness for dialogue."
There is clear empirical evidence that President Obama has greatly enhanced the American brand overseas. A 2010 BBC World Service poll of nearly thirty thousand people found that more people abroad viewed America as a positive force than a negative one. CBS News reported that "the U.S. is seen as having a positive influence in twenty of twenty eight countries; an average of 46 percent view the country as a positive influence, while 34 percent see it as a negative influence. "After a year, it appears the 'Obama effect' is real," declared Steven Kull, one of the study directors.
This was the first time in the five-year history of the poll that America was seen as more of a positive influence than a negative one. Negative views of the United States declined by nine points on average, while positive views increased four points. "People around the world today view the United States more positively than at any time since the second Iraq war," said pollster Doug Miller, whose firm, GlobeScan, conducted the survey.
A more recent study of over twenty-five thousand people across twenty-one countries conducted in Spring 2012 by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project confirms that Europeans and Japanese remain largely confident in President Obama. According to the 2012 Pew Global Attitudes Survey, Obama consistently receives higher ratings than President Bush, especially in Western Europe and Japan, but also in several predominantly Muslim nations. "Roughly nine-in-ten in France (92 percent) and Germany (89 percent) would like to see him re-elected," the report states, "as would large majorities in Britain (73 percent), Spain (71 percent), Italy (69 percent), and the Czech Republic (67 percent). Most Brazilians (72 percent) and Japanese (66 percent) agree." The survey also finds that majorities or pluralities in twelve countries have a favorable view of the United States, while only five nations hold a negative opinion. "Majorities or pluralities in 18 of 20 countries admire the U.S. for its science and technology," the study noted, and "around the world, U.S. ideas about democracy and American ways of doing business have become more popular since Obama took office."
While the world may not agree with some of Obama's policies, there is no question that our allies have great confidence in President Obama's leadership, and that he has repaired America's strong international standing, which was lost under President Bush.
Mitt Romney, who has surrounded himself with the neocon hawks who helped drag us into the Iraq War, seems intent on taking us back to those dark days. His naiveté on national security, combined with his proclivity for short-sighted, overly aggressive pronouncements regarding foreign affairs, could easily strain alliances and cost America dearly, both in terms of prestige and dollars. His comments on Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, and China have already caused many in the diplomatic world to question his judgment, including former secretary of state Colin Powell, who said, "I think [Romney] needs to not just accept these cataclysmic pronouncements. He needs to really think carefully about these [statements]... Let's not go creating enemies where none need exist... let's not hyperbolize the situation." Even outgoing Russian president (and current prime minister) Dmitry Medvedev chided Romney, suggesting that he "check the time -- it is now 2012, not the mid-1970s."
Now more than ever, America needs a president who understands that, in a fragile global economy, the economic and security interests of the United States are enhanced when our nation's reputation around the world is strong.
The world depends on America to point the way toward freedom for all citizens and looks to our great nation for the moral leadership and sense of justice that unites the global community and inspires people of all lands to dream of a better life. Barack Obama has spent nearly four years rebuilding the American brand abroad. Let's not let Mitt Romney's ignorance and penchant for exaggeration destroy it.
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