Why is Obama so different from the other presidential candidates, and why could he make such a large difference internationally? After all, in foreign policy matters, the next president’s room for manoeuvre will be very small. He (or she) will have to stay in Iraq, engage in the Israel-Palestine conflict on the side of Israel, confront a tougher Russia, deal with an ever more ambitious China, and face the challenge of global warming.
If Obama can make a difference, it is not because of his policy choices, but because of what he is. The very moment he appears on the world’s television screens, victorious and smiling, America’s image and soft power would experience something like a Copernican revolution.
Think of the impression his election would make, not only in Africa but in Asia, the Middle East, and even Europe. With its rise to global supremacy, America had become the incarnation of the west, and the west was seen as white. Power in America shifted first from the east coast to the west coast, and then to the south. But if a shift across America’s racial divide is not truly revolutionary, then what is? [complete article]