Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Woman to woman: U.S. reputation rising from ashes

John Mayer’s tepid anti-war ballad “Waiting on the World to Change” always bugged me – a slacker’s lament that makes excuses for its own lack of passion.

At least now the once-popular song is dated, and we’re no longer waiting to see if the world’s attitude toward us will change. It already has.

President Obama clearly has contributed to this changing world in his first 100 days. He’s authorized a staged withdrawal from Iraq, incorporating advice from top military commanders.

This policy, earning grudging approval from McCain and some concern from Pelosi, is bound to sit right with moderates everywhere.

He’s communicated unequivocally and directly to the Arab world, starting with an inaugural address that proclaimed a need to “responsibly leave Iraq to its people.”

The Decider has given way to The Diplomat, and the world likes what it sees.

Yet gaining global approval hardly requires turning tail; our buildup in Afghanistan demonstrates a focus not on fleeing conflict but redirecting resources where they can best help us fight our enemies.

The Pew Research Center just wrapped up an eight-year, comprehensive study of global attitudes toward the U.S., and stat after stat shows that our favorability rating took a nosedive since 2000, with the ongoing war in Iraq a major cause of discontent.

Yet even though we stood on shakier ground last fall before the election, many across the globe held out hope for better relations.

Those better relations were certainly evident during the recent G20 summit. There is some rock-star hype around Obama, to be sure, but it doesn’t account for the degree of his current global approval.

Far too much anger has been generated by past U.S. unilateral actions for other nations to fall in line just because they like Obama’s style. No, there’s a real change in the air, based on policy, not personality.

Will our Iraq pullout make us safer? Hard to say, given that there will always be those who wish us harm, even if their numbers lessen.

Yet when it comes to looking forward to the day that our global reputation is saved, rising phoenixlike out of the ashes of that one, disastrous move – well, the wait on that change is over.

Andrea Sarvady (w2wcolumn@gmail.com) is a writer and educator specializing in counseling and a married mother of three.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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