No election is left without analysis, and in our world today none occurs without a global impact. This is especially true for any American presidential election. For those of us who focus on foreign policy, and it's wider implications, this is a particularly salient point.
George W. Bush left a sour taste in the policy wonk mouths around the globe as they saw the States with fear — and as a war-mongering bully. Granted, all understood the decisions made in the wake of September 11, 2001 as a necessary reaction. However, it was really the Iraq war which truly began the decline of the American reputation overseas. Please spare us all the accusations of an Obama "Apology Tour" at the beginning of his administration in 2009. I do not think that word means what you think it means.
Whatever President Obama said and did, it worked. Global public perception of our country, our presidency, our decisions did seem to garner more respect. If you travel frequently, you no doubt notice the strange love affair countries have with Obama — talking about his adorable family, winning smile, or his positive notion of calm and hope. He offered, whether you agree with him politically or not, a sharp personality contrast to the Bush administration. This is not to say President Bush was a bad person, any leader put in his position with the advisors he had may have had the same public image. He has a good heart, just bad PR — at least, according the those outside our borders (even our allies).
Here's a rundown of various polls and what the world wants to see from you on Tuesday:
As you can see, according to the BBC, not favoring Obama may be one of the few points of policy solidly GOP districts in the southern U.S. and Pakistan have in common. Thanks to Romney's stance that China is a currency manipulator, well we see how they feel about that. Though France has seen a few extreme right-wing politicians running for office, such as Marine Le Pen, they still support the left-leaning voters' choice of Obama here in the United States.
Why does the opinion of the world matter? I will leave out the obvious fact that the U.S. is not, contrary to some people's belief, the only nation on Earth that matters. Foreign perception feeds into relationships with foreign leaders which directly relates to how effective our foreign policy is and can be in the future. Why should you care about that? Well, let's take a look at the YouGov poll and maybe it will serve as a reminder:
Here's an interesting post on Foreign Policy about what foreign leaders think of President Obama and his bid for re-election. Convinced none of this matters? You may not realize it, but the world just doesn't need us, we need them too. Where do you think the laptop/phone you're reading this article came from? Where do you think your clothes were made? Or maybe the machines those clothes were made with? Your medicines were a result of global collaboration by scientists and doctors.
Patman of the New Zealand Herald sums it up nicely:
And Fareed Zakaria's global outlook on the election and fiscal cliff: