Cosmopolitanism, the philosophy which foregrounds common humanity while recognizing difference, seems to be the philosophical underpinning of President Obama's approach to international relations. Carlin Romano's fascinating article 'Obama, Philosopher in Chief' (c/o the brilliant Arts and Letters Daily) analyses his speeches linking them to Kwame Anthony Appiah's thinking on the topic (you can listen to Appiah on Cosmopolitanism on the Philosophy Bites podcast) - though Romano economically describes Appiah as 'Ghanian-American' (more on Appiah's genealogy here).
Romano claims that Obama is 'countering' Machiavelli with his advocacy of a consensual politics over coercion, and recognition of rights over party politics. Cynics might note that the expression of such views is completely consistent with Machiavelli's approach (since Machiavelli is all for appearing to take the moral high ground). But surely, as Romano points out, we have entered a new age when an American President sounds like an existentialist:
"Our history has always been the sum total of the choices made and the actions taken by each individual man and woman."
Can we now hope that the US people will be encouraged to apply reason to the area of religion too? While some way ahead of the UK in politics, the US seems to be lagging behind in metaphysics.