Thanks in part to Hillary and “Obama-san”, fresh image of U.S. Abroad

In Chapter 5, Mingst discusses two main categories of the power of states–tangible and intangible. Amongst the intangible sources of power are national image, public (whether domestic or international) support, and leadership. Based on this article in the Christian Science Monitor, the Democratic primary seems to have increased the level of tangible U.S. power.

Regardless of which Democrat pulls ahead as the candidates race toward Nevada and South Carolina, the rapid political rise of a Harvard-educated Illinois senator with a Kenyan father is bringing ripples and some tides of excitement in the near and far corners of a weary world.

Who’s The One? Japanese watched the results of the New Hampshire Democratic primary in Tokyo Wednesday. Shizuo Kambayashi/APIt’s clear that the buzz around America’s first realistic black candidate has fed the imagination of many non-US observers, who see the controversial superpower as offering something different…

…”[Barack Obama is] what the rest of the world dreams America can be,” says JacquesMistral, a transatlantic specialist and director of economic studies at the French Institute for International Relations in Paris. “He looks like a Kennedy type, and that he’s black is very new. In Europe, the idea that a woman can win is accepted. But for a black person to win would represent a radical change – for the US, and the world.”

It is too early to say that “Obama-mania” is sweeping the planet, particularly after the junior senator’s second place showing in New Hampshire. The public in Europe and Asia have only recently focused on Mr. Obama, though in Africa he’s been news for some time.

But in a world where nearly every poll shows America’s image seriously dragging after the Iraq war onset, and scant interest in Republicans, Obama has made a significant splash, especially among the young…

…In Japan, where US elections are sometimes taken more seriously than the election of the Japanese prime minister, the rise of Obama is as intriguing a subject as the romance between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Italian singer Carla Bruni.

“Obama-san is great,” says Azusa Shiraishi, a sophomore at Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka. She compares Obama with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and thinks “he could bring different perspectives of the US to us as well as American people. That would be great.”

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