Transition 2008: Advising America's Next President: The Future of American Leadership

The first step in writing a new chapter in U.S. leadership will be restoring America's reputation abroad and, according to a panel of experts assembled at New York University's Stern School of Business on November 18, 2008, President-elect Barack Obama's victory is a promising start. CFR.org Executive Editor Michael Moran said the election of an African-American had effectively countered propaganda about U.S. racism. Still, anti-American sentiments abroad won't change overnight. Economist international correspondent Lane Greene asserted that the election results had been met internationally by "enthusiasm with skepticism," and NYU economics professor Richard Sylla added that the United States would have to prove itself capable of effective leadership after blunders like the Iraq war and the export of "toxic securities."

The new president's actions will be limited by the economic downturn, panelists said, but by picking his battles, biding his time, and taking advantage of a wave of public enthusiasm, Obama could still make headway on issues like restricting carbon emissions and bolstering diplomatic relationships.

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