The next U.S. president will inherit “the worst opening day position in American history in international affairs,” according to former U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke. On the short list of problems: wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the uncertain relationship with Russia, the weak dollar, and the high price of oil.
Still, there may be a flicker of light on that gloomy field. Studies by the Pew Research Center and World Public Opinion.org show a slight uptick in the perception of the U.S. abroad for the first time since America’s image started dropping during the Bush administration.
Will a new administration keep that up?
Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama have traded barbs on foreign policy throughout the campaign. Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden, seen as shoring up the ticket with his years of foreign policy experience, is the headline speaker tonight at the Democratic convention, which is focusing Wednesday on national security.
Also in Denver, the Republicans are countering with former New York mayor (and former presidential candidate) Rudy Guiliani criticizing Obama as inexperienced in foreign policy. How might the U.S. approach to the world change, or stay the same, with a change of administration?
Have you been abroad in the past five or ten years, for work, study, military service or fun? Have you experienced any effects of U.S. foreign or security policies firsthand? What kind of attitudes toward the U.S. did you find in the places you visited? What do you think is the most important approach to U.S. security for the next president?
UPDATE: Biden’s speech tonight criticized John McCain most harshly on foreign policy, questioning his statements on Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. He also said the world will “trust us again” if Obama wins the presidency.
- Judith Rooks Retired midwife and public health professional, who lives in Portland and travels frequently
- Steve Kull: Director of World Public Opinion.org and the Program on International Policy Attitudes at University of Maryland
- Steve Clemons: Senior fellow and director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation and founder of the Washington Note blog
- Adrian Wooldridge: Columnist and Washington bureau chief for the Economist