Obama as the new Reagan
It's a good question. And here's my take on it:
The news is all good for Obama, because it's the perception of the United States that requires the most repair. Whether or not anyone agrees or disagrees with Bush/Cheney policies, the election of Obama proves to the rest of the world that the people of the United States are no longer supporters of Bush policies and that to a large extent, American citizens have been misrepresented by Bush and Cheney for many years (a feat made possible only by the dearth of able, alternative Democrats).
In other words, while American strength remains, the Culture of Fear is, for the most part, over.
One of the main reasons why Obama won -- and the Republicans lost -- so decisively is that Bush and Cheney (like so many corporate brand managers) allowed the brand of Reagan Republicanism to wither and die. In 1980, Republicanism was the voice of optimism, largely based on the failures of Jimmy Carter's disastrous administration. That optimism, like Obama's, was real and resonant. It was so powerful, in fact, that Reagan himself penned his own epitaph, which is engraved on his gravestone at the Reagan Museum:
"I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there's purpose and worth to each and every life."
Not exactly what the nation equates with Republicans, is it? Well, the sentiment that propelled Ronald Reagan is exactly the same as those that helped Obama connect with the masses. A new start. A breath of fresh air. A respite from crippling fear and ominous threats.
This is the new brand strategy that Obama can bring to the world. As such, this new perception of the United States should provide all countries a new opportunity, a clean slate if you will, to approach the USA's newer, more genial mind set. Even long-standing enemies of America will no longer have the "racist white imperialist" propaganda at their disposal.
Of course, that doesn't mean the man won't be tested -- and sooner than you think.
I'm betting that Obama's first test with the international community will likely be his reaction to a pre-emptive strike by Israel on Iran's nuclear facilities. World leaders, including heads of many arab states, who are sitting idly by and waiting for someone to do something about Iran's growing nuclear capabilities, will look to Obama for his endorsement or condemnation of the action.
Should this occur, Obama should endorse the action as a stabilization move in that region, a move which arab countries would likely favor. Should this scenario unfold in this manner, it will go a long way toward stabilizing the middle east. Both Israel and its arab neighbors will understand that Obama is more like Reagan in another, more important way:
He believes in peace through strength.