Roger Cohen in The New York Times
The unpopularity of George W. Bush has led many to believe global America-hating will ebb once he leaves office on Jan. 20, 2009. That’s a dangerous assumption.
It’s dangerous because the extent of American power will continue to invite resentment whoever is in the White House, and because America’s perception of the terrorist threat will still differ from that of its Asian and European allies. Asians are focused on growth, Europeans on integration: different priorities cause friction.
The Iraq-linked damage to U.S. credibility is too severe to be quickly undone. The net loss of Western influence over the world means the ability of Bush’s successor to shape events is diminished.
Still, the next U.S. leader will enjoy a honeymoon. To prolong it, several steps are essential. The most critical is a switch from the politics of anxiety to the politics of confidence.