Then there is Africa, most of which rejoiced that the son of a son of Africa would attain the pinnacle of international power. Obama's first visit as president to the continent, especially to his late father's native Kenya, may prompt one of the most remarkable outpourings of emotion ever witnessed. Yet humanitarian and security crises from Darfur and Somalia to Congo and Zimbabwe will force Obama to clarify what America is, and is not, willing to do for Africa.
Obama's overarching challenge will be to bring closure to the foreign policy problems bequeathed by Bush while initiating his own changes. Changes, that is, that garner what Bush so often lacked—the aura of legitimacy that comes with broad international support.
Obama is often touted as a transformational figure. He may need to be if he is to meet the soaring expectations of a troubled world.