By Timothy Heritage
PARIS (Reuters) - The rest of the world will be watching with anxiety when President Bush is inaugurated Thursday for a second time, fearing the most powerful man on the planet may do more harm than good.
Many world leaders, alienated by Bush's go-it-alone foreign policy and the U.S.-led war in Iraq, would have preferred him to lose the U.S. election last November. Since his victory, they have been urging him to listen and consult more.
Mistrust also runs deep among ordinary people. Some 58 percent of people surveyed in a British Broadcasting Corporation poll in 21 countries said they believed Bush's re-election made the world a more dangerous place.
"Negative feelings about Bush are high," Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes which carried out the study, told the BBC. "This is quite a grim picture for the United States."
People in three countries surveyed -- Poland, India and the Philippines -- said the world was now safer, while Israel, which was not part of the survey, also remains a big supporter of the 58-year-old president who took office four years ago.
From Asia to Europe, leaders are looking for signs that Bush will take a more "multilateral" approach on the challenges that lie ahead in Iraq, the Middle East, Iran and North Korea, and on issues such as trade, the U.S. dollar and the environment.
"I think 2005 should mark a new start in our relations ... based on listening to each other, having a more regular dialogue and mutual respect," French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said last week, reflecting the view of the European Union.
There are some encouraging signs. Bush and the European leaders who fell out with him over the Iraq war have signaled they are ready to bury their differences.