Most of the world breathed easier when Barack Obama was re-elected, but it would seem more a sigh of relief than enthusiasm for the man everyone fell in love with four years ago. Confidence in the president on a variety of issues has declined precipitously since 2009.
For example, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey of 20 countries from across the world, "in 2009, large majorities in France, Germany, Britain and Spain believed
Obama would take significant measures to control climate change," however by 2012, "fewer than three-in-ten in these countries said Obama had, in fact, done this."
Western Europeans also feel he has "failed to meet expectations on his handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." The decline in confidence was not quite as sharp as with climate change, however the U.S. "no" vote in the UN on Palestinian statehood will almost certainly add to the disillusionment. In Muslim countries only a minority expected fairness to begin with and that expectation has now dropped to new lows.
Yet another issue of concern is Obama's use of drone attacks. The most supportive nation is Great Britain where 44 per cent support the strikes but even there 47 per cent disapprove. After Britain disapproval increases from 59 per cent in Germany to 89 per cent in Egypt.
What all this means is hard to say. It may be just another sign of declining American influence in the world. It seems that on keys issues, the world is now going to have to lead the former leader.