In many countries opinions of the United States are now about as positive as they were at the beginning of the decade before George W. Bush took office. Improvements in the U.S. image have been most pronounced in Western Europe, where favorable ratings for both the nation and the American people have soared. But opinions of America have also become more positive in key countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, as well. Signs of improvement in views of America are seen even in some predominantly Muslim countries.
Polls suggest Obama may have reason to expect a mostly -- but not entirely -- warm reception on his coming overseas trip with stops in Britain, France, Germany, Czech Republic and Turkey.
The celebratory tone that characterized international media coverage of Barack Obama’s historic election victory was again pervasive in many of the stories about his inauguration. However, many newspapers noted the more somber tone of Obama’s speech, and were themselves relatively somber about the enormous challenges and inflated expectations facing the new president.
"GOBAMA!" gushed Britain's Daily Mirror the day after Barack Obama's electoral victory. Other newspapers around the world were scarcely less enthusiastic but notes of concern and discord were also registered.
By all accounts, Barack Obama will be enthusiastically greeted when he travels to Europe. But his trip will take him into less friendly territory in the Middle East where Muslims remain skeptical about the future of U.S. foreign policy, regardless of who is elected in November.