Global Politics

What foreigners want from Obama

The convention center at times looks like a mini-United Nations with throngs of visitors: the topic is enhancing U.S. influence and image abroad. This Portuguese analyst says Obama must address that issue tonight, because the U.S.'s image hurts its ability to change dialogue abroad. She and others here do speak positively about the U.S., and they want the U.S. to be positively engaged in global issues. There have been surprises: this MP from Afghanistan isn't interested in hearing about a military solution for her country, and she'd rather hear of more focus on Pakistan, the country she calls a safe home for terrorists. This co-chair from Pakistan's People Party doesn't want to hear about striking targets in tribal areas in Pakistan. This Jamaican diplomat wants Obama to talk more about areas in the world that don't draw headlines. Obama may talk about the Caribbean tonight, but it's clear all foreign visitors in Denver tonight want to hear something about them in Obama's speech tonight. But this foreign diplomat also reminds that the speech, and the presidential election, is not for foreigners, it's for the American people. And that's not something Obama is likely to forget.

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