A global 'To Do' List for Obama

What does the world want from the 44th President of the United States?

A BBC survey of 17 nations shows huge expectations – and offers a priority list.

When 17,356 adults were give a list of six issues and asked what should be the No. 1 priority for the Obama administration. they offered their collective wisdom:

1) Global Financial Crisis - 72 percent (You think?)

2) Withdraw US troops from Iraq - 50 percent (Yup, that's under way)

3) Addressing climate chage - 46 percent (A tougher nut)

4) Improving America's relationship with their country- 46 percent (Check out Obama's inaugural speech. He was talking to you.)

5) Brokering peace between Israel and the Palestinians - 43 percent (See climate change above.)

Note: Polling was completed prior to the latest Gaza conflict in all countries except Egypt and India. In Egypt, 75 percent said brokering peace between Israel and the Palestinians should be a top priority.

6) Supporting the government of Afghanistan against the Taliban - 23 percent (Probably a lot higher on Obama's list than some of the previous items)

The results are drawn from a survey for the BBC by the international polling firm GlobeScan and the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. GlobeScan coordinated fieldwork between 24 November 2008 and 5 January 2009.

Expectations are sky high – and climbing.

"Obama is the most global, multilateral president we've had in a century," Ronald Asmus, director of the German Marshall Fund in Brussels told the Monitor earlier this month, "and he will change the direction of US foreign policy."

In 15 of the 17 countries polled, majorities think that the election of Barack Obama will lead to improved relations with the rest of the world. On average 67 per cent express this upbeat view – up 21 percent from the last poll six months ago.

"Familiarity with Obama seems to be breeding hope," commented Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.