Inauguration 2013: What foreign media say about Obama’s second term

President Obama walks through the Capitol on Monday on his way to being sworn in for a second term.
(Molly Riley / European Pressphoto Agency)

People around the world tuned in Monday to President Obama’s inauguration and weighed in on the challenges facing the U.S. leader in his second term. Here are some of the opinions expressed in foreign media about President Obama on his inauguration day:

The ball in America’s court -- China Daily: “Obama’s reelection as U.S. president and Xi Jinping’s election as China’s top leader have intensified global discussions on whether the two countries’ ties will improve or deteriorate. … As the sole superpower, the U.S. has been found wanting in its contribution to world peace, development and cooperation.”


Obama’s encore must show more than pragmatism -- Financial Times (Britain): “With an agenda defined mostly by reacting and defending, Mr. Obama and the Democrats face a long-term hazard. The danger is slipping into a purely reactionary liberalism -- one that stands for spending programs with powerful constituencies rather than for basic principles.”

FULL COVERAGE: 57th presidential inauguration

Arab world needs a strong commitment from Obama - Gulf News (Dubai): “The reinstalled President Barack Obama must make a much more decisive commitment to the Middle East if his administration is to achieve anything positive. Obama’s inauguration speech tonight should include some specific references to action in three areas: Palestine, Iran and Syria.”

In Obama’s second term, foreign policy looms large - Jerusalem Post: “Foreign policy could become an especially strong point of focus almost immediately if Israel ups the ante with Iran on the latter’s nuclear program. An Israeli strike, with or without the support of Washington, remains a real possibility in 2013. ... This issue, thus, has the potential to pose major headaches for Obama, and will require extremely skilled statesmanship.”


Time to come out of the shadows - El Universal (Mexico): “It is not exaggerated to say the president owes his election, in great measure, to the Hispanic vote ... a high figure if you consider that Obama did not only fail to make good on the promise of immigration reform within his first year, but even broke records for deportations.”

Obama’s second chance to engage with Africa - Daily Trust (Nigeria): “Cold War warriors inside the Obama administration should also be encouraged to abandon habits of dealing with Africa by orchestrating political instability and causing ‘regime change’ when confronted with otherwise visionary leaders who may disagree with U.S. and western policies and values.”


Old foreign policy problems haunt Obama’s new term - The Toronto Star: “As Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term, he is still struggling to forge a coherent foreign policy, from Afghanistan to Mali to the Middle East.”

Uncertain world: objective similarities and subjective differences -- RIA Novosti (Russia): “Russian-U.S. relations at the threshold of Obama’s second term can be described as paradoxical. Russia is not a priority for the U.S., yet President Obama still hopes Moscow will help him resolve certain key issues.”


Mark Levin is right: Obama is an imperial president -- The Daily Telegraph (Britain): “It was the clearest signal yet from the White House that Obama’s second term in office will be deeply arrogant in tone, dismissive of any criticism, contemptuous of Congress and averse to political compromise.”

Decline of the West -- Al Ahram (Egypt): “Of critical importance and closer to home to us in Egypt is the question of the future of Washington’s handling of political Islam.”


Barack Obama -- El Nacional (Venezuela): “ ‘Putting the house in order’ is the first priority of President Obama. Therein lies the dilemma -- the balance between his social pledges and the reality of financial resources.”

Can Obama rely on Europe? -- Deutsche Welle (Germany): “So what should Europeans and the EU expect from Barack Obama’s second term? Not much, I am afraid. President Obama does not have a grand strategy for the EU. What he has instead are fears and hopes. And it will be the balance between fears and hopes that will determine his policies during his second term.”


Voice of the establishment -- The Hindu (India): “He is a member of the establishment, fully bought into the American global power program, and who sees all problems through the prism of U.S. establishment interests.”

“Obama-nomics 2.0" to dictate U.S. economic policy in second term -- Dong-A Ilbo (South Korea): “In the end, whether the president can implement his ambitious plan to revive U.S. growth potential depends on how positively Congress, especially the Republican Party, will cooperate with his initiatives.”


Has the American empire struck out? -- The Daily Star (Lebanon): “Obama has been a revolutionary president in deciding that the empire had to greatly slash its ambitions, or else it would go bankrupt. He may be right, but the implications are dramatic. … Can the United States really afford to retreat into its shell?”

Obama redux: the lame duck not past roaring -- Sydney Morning Herald: “From afar we can only wish Obama all strength in his attempt to bring in the most significant new laws on gun control since 1994, while taking a realistic view of his chances.”



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