The World From Berlin: 'America Has Rediscovered its Political Calling'
America has just completed the most radical political about-turn in its recent history by electing Barack Obama, write German media commentators. He won't be able to fulfil all the hopes being pinned on him, but he has the stature to unite America and reinvigorate the nation, they say.
America has reinvented itself by choosing Barack Obama as its new president in an election that has fanned enormous expectations in America and around the world, write German media commentators.
Living up to all those hopes, is an impossible task, but the commentators believe he may be able to unite America by reaching out to religious conservatives who didn't vote for him, and that he could invigorate a country riven by self-doubt as a result of foreign wars and economic decline.
Center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:
"The 44th president of the United States has made history before he has even taken office. Few election nights have delivered so much emotion, and such honest, deeply felt relief and joy. America is rid of a burden. The country will wake up in the morning of Nov. 5 in the certainty that it has renewed itself, that it has achieved what must be the most radical political about-turn in it recent history, and that it has done so of its own accord. And that countless opportunities for internal healing and reconciliation with the world have now opened up."
"The biggest achievement of the new president is that the campaign didn't center on him, Barack Obama, but on America's rediscovery of its political calling. Democracy has returned to a country beset by doubt. "Yes we can!" isn't just an election slogan. "Yes we can!" is a battle cry for a nation that can feel its decline."
"The expectations are so great, and the benchmarks he has set himself are so demanding that Barack Obama will have to develop Herculean powers. The election campaign was only a feeble overture compared with the four years he now faces. Obama will be helped by the fact that there is huge readiness to change. America has reinvented itself, and now the world is waiting for the new president."
Conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:
"Common sense and the experience of history tell us that he won't be able to fulfil all the expectations or solve all the world's problems. Whether America manages to find its way again will depend in part on his style of government and his talent for exuding optimism. As for the world, it will be partly up to America's partners and allies to determine whether Obama will succeed. He will approach them, listen to them and learn what their priorities and issues are. He will tell him what his priorities are. Then it will become clear whether there can be a resilient program for a world in which much has gone wrong in recent years and months."
Berlin daily Tagesspiegel writes:
"Despite all the triumphant celebrations, Obama must be aware that he could quickly lose the confidence America has placed in him. In two years voters are likely to trim the influence of the Democrats in Congress. Many Americans mistrust their government and their politicians. They like the system of checks and balances in which the various organs of state exercise control over one another. And Obama must somehow close the deep cultural chasm that has once again re-opened. He could be helped here by his talent for spiritual speech and his religious faith which could act as a connection to the conservative part of America. Even the Americans who didn't vote for him understand that language, especially white middle class Americans in the southern states."
Left-wing Die Tageszeitung writes:
"Obama built his entire campaign on the historical dimension of his rise, and the emotion this triggers in many people. That's not enough for the future. President Obama and the congressmen and women of his Democrats face the difficult task of returning to pragmatic everyday politics as quickly as possible to be able to live up the unique opportunity and the emotion this election day has brought."
David Crossland, 1 p.m. CET
Stay informed with our free news services:
© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2008
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH
MORE FROM SPIEGEL INTERNATIONAL
German PoliticsMerkel's Moves: Power Struggles in Berlin
World War IITruth and Reconciliation: Why the War Still Haunts Europe
EnergyGreen Power: The Future of Energy
European UnionUnited Europe: A Continental Project
Climate ChangeGlobal Warming: Curbing Carbon Before It's Too Late