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A Historic Moment
“I was there.” after days of traveling, sleepless nights and frigid temperatures, this is something I can say for the rest of my life [Feb. 2]. In these days of troubling economic news and fear of just about everything else, watching President Barack Obama take the oath of office reminded me of our ability to overcome fear, hate, prejudice and divisive ideologies. Although change will not happen overnight, we should all be reminded through this Inauguration that change can happen when we make the choice to commit to it.
Joshua Phillips,
Carbondale, Ill., U.S.

After watching the swearing-in of our 44th President, I felt as though eight years of oppression had been lifted off my shoulders. Over the past seven years, I have lost my pension, have taken two pay cuts and every year pay more for health insurance. Please, let there be hope.
Deborah Schlegel,
Washington, Iowa, U.S.

I enjoyed reading Joe Klein’s article about the new style, tone and attitude of cooperation that the Obama Administration brings. I only wish that Klein had adopted this new attitude. Instead, the snarky remarks aimed at George W. Bush and conservatives make him come across as a sore winner, very unlike our new President.
Brian Hendricks,
Springfield, Ill., U.S.

For millions of people like me in Asia and the Middle East, we want President Obama not to judge our governments on rigid categories, whether they’re democratic, monarchical, communist or even a member of the “axis of evil,” but rather whether this or that government works, serving the needs of a majority of its people. The days of U.S. Presidents viewing the world through ideological lenses must be over, and in President Obama a new dawn is emerging. I am optimistic that he can make a difference for everyone in the U.S. and the rest of the world.
Kamaludin Bin Bahadin,

My 73-year-old father-in-law stood to attention in front of an American flag after watching Barack Obama’s Inauguration live on TV. People everywhere expect Obama to be a President for the world, not of the world.
Dennis Callesen,
Aoraki, New Zealand

An Overseas Image Makeover
I applaud Peter Beinart’s suggestion to inject some economic realism into our foreign policy [Feb. 2]. An America that demonstrates an understanding of its limitations and a fiscal pragmatism in its foreign policy will command far greater respect abroad than one that takes the dogmatic, open-checkbook approach of the Bush Administration. But why stop with Iraq and Afghanistan? Obama should look at the rationale for maintaining forces in Germany, Japan and South Korea — even there our presence is not appreciated. Our days as the world’s policeman are over, and that’s a good thing. Let’s return to creating the goodwill and moral capital that have always been our real sources of power and influence.
Charles Johnson,
St. Petersburg, Fla., U.S.

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