The celebrations are finished, for the moment, from the Champs Elysees and the plains of Kenya to Tokyo's Ginza. By noon on the last day of April 2009, America's forty-fourth president will have been in office for 100 days. Without question, it will be among the most singularly fraught such periods in the history of the republic. If there is any individual, however, who appears most clearly destined to stand up to these challenges, it is Barack Hussein Obama. No president in recent memory has arrived in office with a deeper well of hope and goodwill from the furthest corners of the globe. Hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of people, who once condemned the United States and all it stood for, awoke on November 5 with a new sense of promise of leadership and a new moral purpose from the world's greatest democracy.
Accordingly, it was with only the most humble of sensibilities that the editors of World Policy Journal sought the advice and counsel of some wise minds from around the globe to lay out their thoughts for America's new president. Some of his would-be interlocutors address him quite personally and directly. Some offer prescriptives, others a sense of the texture, the warp and woof of their regions or countries, the aspirations of their people, where they are going, how they hope to get there and how President Obama might help in their journey.
In our last issue, celebrating our twenty-fifth anniversary, we asked a host of writers to examine our world as it might be 25 years from now. In this issue, our time frame is more constrained--four, perhaps eight, years of an Obama presidency. When he began his journey to the White House, barely two years ago, the world was a far different place. Much of it was considerably more prosperous than it is today. Many places are even more dangerous, less stable.
The challenges facing President Obama range from jump-starting a faltering global economy, possibly with new structures uniting broad reaches of global finance and regulation, to new security based on negotiations and diplomacy in lieu of violence--a...