anyone that argues against or distorts this kind of foreign policy is out of touch. look no further than george bush and john mccain.
baltimore sun: So what makes Mr. Obama potentially America's first soft power president? To begin, there's his color and his name.
Saudis I met were both fascinated by the prospect that America could elect a black man with the middle name Hussein, and generally convinced it could never happen. In Brazil, a country whose elites are European in descent and mindset but that also features a huge population of Afro-Brazilians, there is a similar feeling of cautious optimism.
Then, more significantly, there is Mr. Obama's potentially pathbreaking foreign policy doctrine, explained by Spencer Ackerman in a recent cover piece for The American Prospect. Mr. Obama and his foreign policy team emphasize "dignity promotion" over "democracy expansion."
If that notion itself sounds a wee bit soft, think again. What Mr. Obama believes is that in societies paralyzed by dehumanizing poverty, ethnic and tribal violence, or lacking safe or abundant food and water supplies, not only is there little hope of democracies emerging, there's a much greater chance to germinate terrorist ideas. A refugee with an empty belly is not much interested in discourse on constitutional theories of checks and balances.
Meanwhile, back home, the Bush administration fertilizes rising anti-American radicalism with its reckless bad-neighbor policies. In his speech last week endorsing Mr. Obama, former Sen. John Edwards talked about the walls that divide us here in America - but then argued there's also a wall distorting our global image. "The America as the beacon of hope is behind that wall," said Mr. Edwards. "And all the world sees now is a bully. They see Iraq, Guantanamo, secret prisons and government that argues that waterboarding is not torture."
A 2007 British Broadcasting Corp. survey in which people around the world were asked to rate 12 major countries in terms of their positive and negative influence revealed that America's negative rating (51 percent) was third worst, between "axis of evil" members Iran and North Korea.
As to those who say they don't care what foreigners think - or worse, who seem to wear anti-Americanism, whether deriving from Paris or Karachi or Addis Ababa, as some sort of badge of honor - this is a myopic and dangerous way to look at the world.