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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

America's Standing

A recurring feature in the text is "International Perspectives." A recent report by the American Political Science Association sheds light on this subject. Among other things, it finds:
Not surprisingly, perhaps, one of President Obama’s central foreign policy objectives has been to “restore American standing.” To date, Obama appears to enjoy broad confidence around the globe. Favorable foreign attitudes towards the United States have risen sharply. At the same time there are strong indications of continuing, deep global dissatisfaction with U.S. economic and military policies. This suggests that U.S. standing remains a significant political issue. The disjuncture between confidence in Obama and discontent with U.S. policies is a potentially troubling fault line for the
United States and the Obama presidency.

The the task force members who wrote the report, two offered a partial dissent:

[T]his report makes too much of the recent decline of U.S. standing, implicitly indicting the administration of George W. Bush and endorsing President Obama’s rhetoric to “restore” that standing. This point of view is certainly popular and defensible—one could even say confirmed by the elections. But we would have preferred a disclaimer much earlier in the report warning the reader to be aware that political bias affects perceptions of standing. The academic community, unbalanced as it is between self-identified Republicans and Democrats, is not immune to such bias.