Obama’s world image tarnished – but policies will remain

By Paul Reynolds World affairs correspondent, BBC News website

One piece of legislation which President Obama hoped for will take a tumble – a climate bill aimed at reducing carbon emissions by taxing them. Republicans will not have this.

The mid-term congressional elections have certainly weakened US President Barack Obama domestically, and to an extent he has also been weakened internationally.

Peoples and governments around the world might think that if he cannot impress his own people, then he cannot impress them either. His reception at the G20 meeting in South Korea next week will be watched closely.

Foreign policy played almost no role in these elections and little immediate change is expected, though some big decisions lie ahead.

In Afghanistan – how fast should Mr Obama withdraw troops? In the Middle East – does he give up on peace talks? These results have not weakened backing for Israel in the US Congress, and its supporters will not want the administration to exert undue pressure on it.

However, the American economic weakness that largely caused these election results might encourage Mr Obama to be more active in world economic affairs – stepping up criticism of China over its currency, for example.

Mr Obama has two more years in office and time to turn things round if the economy improves, so that is likely to be his priority.

BBC News

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