US’s new reputation something to smile about

It is no secret that the opinion section of The WEB tends to be a bit more cynical than the rest of the paper. It is the section where reporters can take some of their anger caused by various problems in the world, articulate that displeasure to the community, and then add how they propose to fix said issue. As somewhat angst-ridden teenagers, our views tend to lean toward pessimism, and it is not hard to understand- we live in a world plagued with problems, including issues such as global warming, drug wars in Mexico, poverty, extremely expensive college tuition, and a failing world economy. Despite these pressing issues, there is a lot to be happy about, and The WEB staff would like to take time to praise one of the good things to happen in the past few weeks: the US’s increasing popularity overseas. President Obama very recently finished his first official visit to Europe, spending time with everyone from Queen Elizabeth II and Gordon Brown to chilling with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his supermodel/singer wife, Carla Bruni. His tour showed the world just how amiable our new leader is, especially compared to his predecessor, and began to heal some of the ill-will abroad. He was busy at work at the G-20 and NATO summits, discussing how to fix the global economic crisis with other world leaders. Obama urged the nations to come together to fight this problem, all the while acknowledging the US’s significant role in the downturn. His grace and unifying tone won applause all across the continent. For the first time in eight years, our president has Europe smiling, which has all of us smiling back. Although Obama did not get commitment from countries like Germany to help confront the rising violence in Afghanistan, it appears that Sarkozy and France, and several other US allies, may be on board to help the fight against the Taliban. It is amazing how in just eight days, he was able to erase so much of the bitterness between the US and many European nations left over from eight years of the Bush administration. His attempts to reach out to the Islam world were also big steps for our foreign relations, especially since the last administration didn’t seem interested in cooperating with Middle Eastern nations, but was more interested in demanding they obey the US. Obama has reached out to Iran, strongly backed Turkey as a candidate for EU membership, and states that the US is not at war with Islam, only with the violence in the area. One of the most impressive moments of the tour was Obama’s call for nations to cut down their supply of nuclear weapons, and to fight nuclear proliferation, which garnered praise from citizens all over the European continent and the world. What is really making the difference in Europe is respect. There is now mutual respect between the US and European nations, because our new president does not treat them as inferior, but like global leaders of equal importance. He has reopened a dialogue between nations that has felt forbidden for the past eight years.Obama knows much better than Bush that we cannot fix the world’s problems without the help of others. His message of a United States that welcomes partnership with the world is the beginning of friendlier foreign policies that are long overdue. Obama may not succeed in everything he hopes to do with the US; some of his plans might be too ambitious and will never fully come to fruition, but, as far as our relations with other nations are concerned, the potential alone is changing the reputation of this country. This tour has given us a much-needed makeover, and it sure feels good to be liked again.