It's a second chance more than a second term. This means that President Obama will need to make tough and thorough choices. Going forward also means acknowledging that the country and the world are at the crossroads.
President Obama's re-election is crucial because it removes the opportunity for cynics, those who refused to believe in the promise behind his election in 2008, from being able to say "I told you so."
Both candidates showed determination to prevent a nuclear Iran, including by military action. Neither of them however, wondered publically whether the Iranian people, who have the most at stake in case of war, approve of Iran's leadership's policies?
When he won his first election four years ago, he promised to restore America's reputation in the world. But as he starts his second and final term following a strong election victory last night, president Barack Obama resumes service in the White House with a reputation abroad as a hard-nosed leader who killed Osama Bin Laden and who sent drones to pursue extremists in far-flung places.
In American politics, more so than ever, the size of your friends' wallets determines how much of an influence you can have over voters. If you want to be the Leader of the Free World, nothing comes for free.
President Obama's re-election win wasn't an affirmation of his less than glorious first-term, but more a dislike of the alternative in a nation where choices in elected officials have become fewer and largely dependent on big money.
This year, the prevailing feeling is one of relief. An election that has been fueled by fear and cynicism means that Obama's supporters are not so much elated to have won but more relieved not to have lost.
Mitt Romney was never going to be a candidate for Mount Rushmore, but barely 40 years after he warned of it, America has become, in Richard Nixon's eerie phrase, "a pitiful, helpless, giant." It is almost irrelevant to the world, except as an engine of fiscal incontinence.
The latest psychological research suggests the protracted campaign, adversarial debates, plotted strategy, choice of running mates, elaborately groomed wives, and carefully schemed policies, have a lot less to do with the final result, than the politicians or the media pundits, would have you believe.
Living in the UK, I'm more aware of what's happening in politics from Saudi Arabia to Russia, from Japan to France. Perhaps that's why I'm so fretful about what will happen if Mitt Romney is elected today. I see the attitudes espoused by him and Paul Ryan and wonder what the hell happened over there, that this team - with their retro view of America uber alles and scarily dismissive view of women's autonomy - are seen as the kind of people Americans want in charge.
As a European, I think it will always be better to deal with an American president that respects and understands the role of the State than with one that openly dismisses and scorns it.
Today America is suffering, America is afraid, America is caught in the mimicry of its history, of its democracy; But the truth is, America has a fantastic capacity to face new challenges and to be born again out of its ashes.