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September 23rd, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Why is everybody on the international stage saying no to Obama?

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President Obama addresses world leaders during the United Nations General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York City. (PHOTO CREDIT: JIM WATSON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"Everybody is saying no to the American president these days"... that's the start of a pretty scathing piece in the Jerusalem Post about where President Obama stands on the international stage - just as he addresses the UN and meets with world leaders.

Amir Mizroch has plenty of examples... like the Saudis twice saying no to the president's request for normalizing relations with Israel; or the North Koreans saying no to repeated attempts at talks by firing off test long-range missiles; to Russia and China continuing to say no to tougher sanctions against Iran; to Iran itself saying no - by agreeing to talks about everything except stopping its uranium enrichment.

Mizroch suggests the reason all these nations are saying no to President Obama is because the U.S. economy has made him a weak president. If the president manages to turn around the economy in the next two years - and then manages to get re-elected - at that point he might be able to focus on international trouble spots with more success. That's if Iran hasn't managed to blow up half the world by then.

Along the same lines, a piece in the British newspaper The Guardian titled "Obama the impotent" says many in the U.S. and abroad are impatient with the pace of progress under this president.

It points out Mr. Obama hasn't even been able to get health care reform passed in his own country and questions his ability to lead internationally on issues like climate change and regulating international financial systems:

"It appears that the wheels may be coming off the world's post-war leader, and not even Barack Obama can stop it happening."

Here’s my question to you: Why is everybody on the international stage saying no to President Obama?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

September 22nd, 2009
04:00 PM ET

More important for U.S. president to be liked or feared outside the country?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama may not be leaving the country this week - but it's likely his global support will be put to the test during the meetings of the U.N. here in New York and the G-20 in Pittsburgh.

As Mr. Obama meets with world leaders and addresses issues like climate change, the global economy and the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East - there's no question that this president is better liked overseas than his predecessor, George W. Bush.

A recent Pew survey finds significant support for President Obama still throughout Africa, Europe and Latin America. Attitudes toward the U.S. are also more favorable in some mostly Muslim countries.

The survey shows America's image has improved markedly in most parts of the world, reflecting global confidence in Barack Obama. In a lot of places - opinions of the U.S. are as high as they were before Bush took office.

But the question may be: Does it really matter? What's changed on the international stage as a result of President Obama's increase in popularity? The answer is - Not a whole lot...

North Korea, Iran, Russia, China, Afghanistan and Iraq all still present the same challenges to this country as they did before Mr. Obama won the election.

And - just because other countries may like our president - it doesn't always mean they're going to support his foreign policy decisions.

And the arrest of suspects in a terror plot this past week inside the U.S. indicates the terrorists haven't suddenly decided to lay down their arms and become our friends.

It's nice to be liked, but being president of the United States isn't necessarily about winning a popularity contest overseas.

Here’s my question to you: Is it more important for an American president to be liked or feared outside the country?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

August 4th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Release of U.S. journalists affect N. Korea's relations with rest of world?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Before we nominate Kim Jong Il for the Nobel Peace Prize for releasing those two journalists, it's worth remembering who we're dealing with. The fact that former President Clinton was able to gain the women's release shouldn't change anything.

North Korea is still a very dangerous regime armed with nuclear weapons and in the midst of a lot of questions about who will succeed the little mad man who runs the place.

In all likelihood, North Korea would like to sit down with the United States alone and negotiate another of the phony deals they've been party to in the past. They don't like the six party talks aimed at trying to get them to disarm. They would rather get the United States to agree to feed their people without having to do much of anything in return.

There should be no letting up on the part of the group of six nations just because of today's humanitarian gesture on the part of North Korea. These are the same folks who have threatened to fire a missile toward Hawaii and have made repeated threats against South Korea and other of their neighbors.

There is absolutely no reason to believe that today's developments change anything when it comes to North Korea. But North Korea undoubtedly will think it does.

Here’s my question to you: How will the release of the two American journalists affect North Korea’s relations with the rest of the world?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Global Image • Global matters • North Korea
June 3rd, 2009
05:38 PM ET

Romney: Obama too apologetic about U.S. overseas. Is he right?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As President Obama gets ready to address the Muslim world in Cairo tomorrow, one Republican is accusing him of being too apologetic about America's past mistakes. Mitt Romney refers to it as a "tour of apology," and says that of course the U.S. makes mistakes, but that it's inappropriate to "go around the world apologizing."

The former - and perhaps future - Republican presidential candidate says there's nothing wrong with showing our respect for the Muslim world. But he thinks President Obama should spend more time talking about the sacrifices the U.S. has made for other countries - like during World War II.

Romney points to an interview that the president gave on Arabic TV where he said the U.S. had dictated to the world; and he says a British newspaper declared Obama the president who's the most critical of his own country while on foreign soil.

The former Massachusetts Governor says this would be a "most unfortunate distinction at any time," but especially now - when this should be a time for "strength and confidence."

It's worth pointing out that Romney's own foreign policy experience is negligible. But he has no shortage of opinions when it comes to the Middle East, North Korea and missile defense.

He insists he's not running for 2012 now - but rather working to get Republicans elected. Might be easier to run for president.

Here’s my question to you: Is Mitt Romney right when he says Pres. Obama is too apologetic about the U.S. overseas?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

June 3rd, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Have your feelings about Muslim countries changed?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

While President Obama tries to boost the image of the U.S. in the Muslim world - it turns out most Americans don't look too highly on Muslim countries.

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows only 21 percent of those surveyed have a favorable opinion of Muslim countries. 46 percent have an unfavorable view. Compare that to 2002, before the start of the Iraq war, when 24 percent had a favorable view; and 41 percent had a negative opinion. About a third of those polled had a neutral option then... and now.

This poll also shows that most Americans - 78 percent - say people in the Muslim world have an unfavorable opinion of the U.S. But people are split on whether such a negative view by Muslims even matters.

At a town hall meeting in Turkey this year, President Obama declared that "the United States is not, and will never be, at war with Islam." This poll found a majority of Americans agree that the U.S. is not at war with the Muslim world; but six out of 10 Americans think the Muslim world considers itself at war with us.

These poll numbers seem to suggest the feeling of distrust is mutual... and it looks like President Obama certainly has his work cut out for him when it comes to smoothing over tensions with the Muslim world.

Here’s my question to you: Have your feelings about Muslim countries changed in the last several years?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Global Image • Middle East
June 2nd, 2009
04:00 PM ET

How can Obama make the most of his speech in Egypt?

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Pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo stand behind apartment buildings as security is heightened in city in anticipation of Pres. Obama’s visit on Thursday. (PHOTO CREDIT: CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When President Obama speaks at Cairo University in Egypt on Thursday, he'll have a huge audience and the undivided attention of many of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims.

The White House hopes the long-promised speech and trip to Saudi Arabia and Egypt can help boost the image of the U.S. in the Muslim world. Under the Bush administration, many Muslims grew to hate America; with the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the creation of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay and the abuse at Abu Ghraib.

Our president has a chance to bring change. But the experts say Muslims want more than just words. The United States will have to follow up on the president's speech with concrete policy changes.

It seems that Mr. Obama is off to a good start. Soon after inauguration - he banned harsh interrogation techniques, promised to close Gitmo within a year, and gave his first formal interview to an Arabic-language network.

All this just might be working: A new Gallup poll shows that while approval ratings for U.S. leadership in 11 Muslim countries remains generally low, the ratings are up by double digits in eight of these countries, including Egypt.

Meanwhile, President Obama is indicating that he'll be more willing to criticize Israel than other administrations have - and is repeating his call for a freeze on settlements. And Israel is not on the president's itinerary - a pretty significant statement.

Here’s my question to you: How can President Obama make the most of his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, Egypt?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

April 2nd, 2009
04:00 PM ET

What's the point of G-20 summit?

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World leaders pose for a group photo at the G20 summit today in London, England.(PHOTO CREDIT: JEFF J. MITCHELL/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There's a distinct possibility that the G-20 summit under way in London will amount to a whole lot of nothing when all's said and done.
As Robin Oakley suggests on CNN.com, there's little chance it can prove to be anything more than "group therapy for a bunch of fingernail gnawing, troubled individuals."

He points out this meeting comes at a time when much of the public around the world is fed up with government in general and has little faith in its ability to solve this economic mess.

If the politicians fail to come up with an agreement - and you can bet they will - it will likely further reduce any remaining confidence in the world's top economies. And, even if they do agree, it probably won't make much of a difference seeing as the G-20 doesn't have a permanent secretariat to enforce anything. As for the meetings themselves, they could just as easily be held using satellite technology and teleconferencing.

Meanwhile, the city of London is tied in knots. The streets are filled with angry mobs, which is costing British taxpayers a small fortune in security, police protection, etc.

Not to mention the costs incurred by all the countries sending heads of state from near and far to attend. President Obama has more than 500 officials and staff with him, including Secret Service, plus all the stuff that has to travel with the president when he goes overseas - Marine One, limousines and on and on.

And when they all get there they spend most of their time meeting and posturing and issuing press releases and posing for photographs and TV cameras - and then they go home. And little or nothing of substance has really been accomplished.

Here's my question to you: When it comes to the G-20 summit, what's the point?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Global Image
April 1st, 2008
05:01 PM ET

Poll ranks countries posing biggest threat to U.S.

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When it comes to the Axis of Evil, a little diplomacy can go a long way. According to the latest Gallup Poll the number of Americans who view North Korea as our greatest enemy has dropped by half in the last year. In fact, North Korea isn't even any longer in the top three. Thanks to diplomatic agreements reached concerning their nuclear weapons program, the percentage of Americans viewing North Korea as our biggest threat has dropped from 18% to 9%.

North Korea's Axis of Evil partners, Iran and Iraq still top the enemies list. 25% of Americans see Iran as our biggest enemy and 22% say it's Iraq.

Who's the new number three? China with 14%. North Korea has dropped to number four with its 9% rating. Number five is a tie between Afghanistan and us! That's right, 3% of the people surveyed see the United States as its own worst enemy.

The Russian bear is hardly in the game. Our number one nemesis for all the years of the cold war is only considered our worst enemy today by 2% of Americans.

Here’s my question to you: What country do you think poses the biggest threat to the United States?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Global Image • United States
January 14th, 2008
05:53 PM ET

Closing Gitmo & restoring America’s image?

 Department of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen .

Department of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen .

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says he wants to close the Guantanamo Bay prison as soon as possible.

During a visit there, Admiral Mike Mullen said he’d like to see Gitmo shut down because he thinks that negative publicity around the world about U.S. treatment of terror suspects there has been "pretty damaging" to our image.

Mullen adds that closing Gitmo is not his decision to make, and he understands there are many complex legal questions that first need to be answered, things like where to move the prisoners.

Officials say the prison population has shrunk over the past year, to 277. At one point, there were more that 600 suspects being held at Gitmo. Critics charge that some detainees have been mistreated and that their detentions haven't been consistent with the rule of law.

Both President Bush and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have spoken in favor of closing the prison, but Mullen says he's not aware of any moves to actually do it.

Mullen's visit to Gitmo came just two days after the sixth anniversary of the prison's opening.

Here’s my question to you: How far would closing the Guantanamo Bay prison go toward restoring America’s image around the world?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.


Filed under: Global Image