Beyond his intelligence, what appeals to me about Obama is his apparent zeal for aggressive statesmanship. While McCain claims to hold the mantle of foriegn policy, he always appears dismissive when asked about diplomatic, multilateral foreign policy issues, and seems unwilling to think extemporaneously about evolving events. This lends him an air of obstinance; it feels as if he has no desire to truly know more about the parties in a conflict, no desire to triangulate a solution. He has all too willingly embraced the anti-intellectualism of the Bush White House, the distrust of nuance and conflicting opinion that has us mired in a disgusting war.
I find a lot of things alarming about Obama's recent foreign policy statements. For one thing, his proposal for dealing with Afghanistan seems a bit short sighted and politically expedient. Regardless of this, he appears possessed of a certain drive, an embrace of thoroughly caucused factuality, and a willingness to shift his views with the times without the egomaniac's obsession with constant justification and calibration.
I feel that this goes a good deal of the way in explaining why his popularity has soared all over the world. Most people, world leaders and myself included, have not deluded themselves into believing Obama will work entirely in favor of their specific interests all of the time. Obama has proven, however, that he will elevate the position of the Presidency back to that of a world statesman, and weigh all sides of his decisions with the gravity and seriousness they deserve.
I could not have put it better myself (and I share Phoenix's apprehensiveness at some of Obama's recent rhetoric concerning Afghanistan.)