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G-20: Obama’s global debut
How did President Obama do in his big first international summit?
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resident Obama got both “raves” and “not-so-good reviews” for his “debut on the international stage,” said Helene Cooper in The New York Times. The “usually caustic” British press heaped “high adulation” on Obama and his wife, Michelle, for their "star turn” at the G-20 summit in London, but the media in other European countries called him aloof. He resolved a "spat” between France and China, but failed to get a global stimulus package. 

In terms of diplomatic prowess, Obama is actually “living up to high expectations,” said Fred Kaplan in Slate. In his one-on-one side chats at the summit—especially his productive meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev—Obama showed a “cleareyed, even somewhat steely grasp” of international relations. After the Bush years, a return to deft diplomacy is “practically revolutionary.”

Obama’s “welcome modesty” probably helped him at the summit, said Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal, and his “freshness and persona” likely explain why the anti-capitalist protests were not, for once, also anti-American. But if Obama gets a “bounce” back home from his trip, it’s because his foreign policies—unlike his grandiose domestic plans—have a welcome “air of moderation.”

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