November 9, 2012

Obama’s Global Challenges

On most issues, Obama faces divisions at home and with allies

By Bruce Stokes, Director of Pew Global Economic Attitudes, Pew Research Center

Special to YaleGlobal

The American people have spoken. Barack Obama remains the president of the United States – and by extension leader of the world – for the next four years. The people of Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America had no say in this choice, but they must live with the consequences.  The policies pursued by the reelected American president, be it dealing with the economy, Iran, terrorism or trade, promise to have a profound effect on the lives and livelihoods of billions of people in all parts of the globe.

The promises that presidential candidates make on the campaign trail do not necessarily dictate the policies pursued, But presidents tend to attempt to implement their promises. Moreover, American public opinion on a range of issues facing the next president is clear, with priority on the economy, preventing a nuclear Iran and catching up with China. Obama will defy such sentiment at his political peril.

The potential for either collaboration or friction between the new administration and foreign governments is ever-present. Europeans, Asians, Africans and Latin Americans attempting to gauge the implications of Obama’s victory understandably wonder if commitments made in the heat of a US presidential election really matter once a candidate becomes president. They do.

Read the full commentary at YaleGlobal