This is the world as seen by the opponents of Barack Obama:
Everything is going wrong. Health care reform, a major promise made by Obama, has failed to be attained. Nobody wants it. The economy is wrong also. He saved Wall Street tycoons from bankruptcy, while allowing the poor to lose their homes, which created a source of fierce resentment among his own supporters. Unemployment remains high, and the public deficit, foreign debt and financial dependence on China are major threats. This imposes limitations on the Pentagon budget and, therefore, the country's military hegemony. The gap between Republicans and Democrats increasingly deepens, making it difficult to build political coalitions needed to pass the necessary laws.
Internationally, things aren’t going well either. Obama turned the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan into a broader military conflict that has also spread to Pakistan, thereby running the risk of destabilizing the precarious political balance of this nuclear power. A war that was Bush's war is now Obama’s. His June 2009 speech in Cairo, proposing a new era of initiatives that would lead to peace in the Middle East and a new relationship between his country and the Islamic and Arab world, created enormous, positive expectations; in less than a year, its realization has been thwarted.
His attempt to seek constructive dialogue with Iran also failed, and now all the U.S. discusses with its allies is the scope and ferocity of the sanctions to be imposed on Iran if it fails to abandon its intention to make atomic bombs. The Chinese are also unhappy with an Obama who sells weapons to Taiwan, receives the Dalai Lama, and who could not reach any agreement in Copenhagen on combating global warming. And European leaders are also disappointed. They believe that Obama is aloof and takes neither them nor their continent seriously. In short, Obama is doing poorly in almost everything and will certainly not be reelected. Like Jimmy Carter, he will be president for only four years and then dedicate himself to philanthropy, writing books and lecturing. Obama has failed.
On the other hand, this is the world as seen by the allies of Barack Obama:
It was absolutely impossible to maintain the stratospheric expectations that people inside and outside the U.S. had placed on the new president. Nevertheless, despite his falling poll ratings, nearly half of Americans continue to support Obama. This places him among world presidents with most support from their citizens. The economy remains weak, but is no longer on the brink.
Unemployment remains high but has stabilized, and experts predict it will continue to decline. Saving the banks had an enormous political price, but a financial meltdown, with dreadful consequences for everyone, was avoided. Health reform would affect powerful interests, business and labor, involving annual revenues equal to 16 percent of the U.S. economy. This explains why, for decades, no one succeeded in reforming the system. But, one way or another, Obama will achieve reforms. They may possibly be insufficient, but they can represent a breakthrough.
Internationally, Obama kept his promise to seek agreements, commitments and detente with countries with which he had inherited unprecedented conflict. Unfortunately, there has been little progress. But is Obama the only one responsible when others — like Ahmadinejad, Castro, Chavez, Kim Jong-il, the leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah, Bibi Netanyahu and more — have rejected or played with his offers of rapprochement and negotiation? His critics argue it was disingenuous of Obama to assume that these partners would be able to understand that rapprochement is not a sign of weakness. But Obama is learning.
While Obama learns, his political rivals are consumed in irreconcilable conflict. In order for Obama to be defeated in the upcoming elections, Republicans must find a candidate who is equally acceptable to religious fundamentalists, international policy hawks and economic conservatives in the economy. And who, furthermore, is also attractive to the rest of the citizens. That's why, for now, it's safe to bet that Obama will be reelected. For now.