Media Blog

The Foreign Media on Obama

Indian Express editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta writing in Newsweek’s international edition:

Not long ago, David Mulford, the U.S. ambassador to India, visited The Indian Express for its weekly “Idea Exchange” program. A young reporter asked him, “How does it feel to represent a country whose president is the most hated man in the world?”
Mulford wasn’t stumped. “President Bush’s [approval] ratings in India are twice as high as in America,” he said. “I think I’ll take that.”

But what about Obama? India’s feeling a bit snubbed by him.

… Indians are also celebrating their improved relations with Washington these days. They’re appreciative of Bush, who carried forward the de-hyphenation of America’s South Asia policy—finally separating “India-Pakistan”—that President Bill Clinton began during his second term.
That said, Obama should understand that the best way to keep improving ties with New Delhi would be to recognize India’s aspirations. Don’t patronize us by talking to us like just another “promising emerging market.” In fact, never try to sermonize to us. We Indians can outsermonize anybody—even someone as articulate and convincing as Obama.

More words of wisdom for Obama from the same Newsweek features, these from Josef Joffe, editor of Die Zeit.

Germany’s Obamamania has disappointment written all over it, for two reasons. One is President George W. Bush. Somehow, the chattering class has decided that W is a cross between a demon and a dolt, a one-man Axis of Evil with a room-temperature IQ. Hence the derision and the contempt they direct at him; hence, also, a scapegoat fantasy that confuses the man with his country. Once we finally pack off Bush, so the wishful thinking goes, we will be able to love America again.

Alas, Germany’s and Europe’s problems with America run a lot deeper than that. W is just shorthand for overweening power; it’s Mr. Big and not Mr. Bush that irks the European soul. It is power liberally used—and not, as in Iraq, always used with the say-so of the lesser players. It is America as a league of its own, a giant who will not reflexively submit to the dictates of goodness by which Europe (give or take Britain or France) now lives. At any rate, anti-Americanism is older than Bush, and it will outlive him. In fact, it will last as long as the United States remains No. 1—the world’s steamroller of might and modernity.

Night and day, no?