In this article, Cohen nimbly sums up the primary difficulty of international perception:
"That is America's lot, the poisoned fruit of its power: The world looks to it for peace, for prosperity, for virtually everything. The burden is an impossible one, and one complicated by all the ambivalence that great power inspires. Even as they look to Washington, countries resent the fact that they are obliged to do so."
The answer to the question in the title of his article (What the World Wants From America) is a slight play on Madonna's famously bad song in Die Another Day - Give me everything and nothing.