Barack Obama
Economy & Trade, Energy, International Relations, Globalization, Government & Politics, War & Conflict

Around the world, leaders have mostly greeted the election of Barack Obama with enthusiasm, some of which is routine “congratulations to the new guy” you’d get with any U.S. election and some of which is no doubt informed by exhaustion with the President Bush years and a sincere appreciation of the unique accomplishment of Obama, as well as his more collaborative-sounding agenda on the international front. But not everyone is just offering friendly words; a few countries are lining up with demands. has the lengthiest rundown. Spain’s president expects “a more fluid and positive relationship” under Obama, no doubt a reference to some feuding with Bush over Iraq. Germany’s chancellor has had fairly close relations with Bush, but even she envisioned “closer and more trusting cooperation between the United States and Europe.”

But as I said, a few world leaders have already communicated their expectations. Afghanistan’s president said: “The fight against terrorism cannot be fought in our country, rather, our country is a victim of terrorism and we demand for civilian casualties to be eliminated.” Obama’s remarks about the need to cut down on those casualties and do more than military intervention were of course a subject of some controversy after Republicans made a political issue out of it. Russia’s president didn’t congratulate Obama at all, and aside from a vague expression of hope that Obama could improve relations between the two countries, Russia’s primary response was to announce its intention to station missiles near Poland in response to U.S. missile defense plans for Europe – plans that Obama has been decidedly cool toward. Israeli and Palestinian leaders expressed a desire to see Obama bring peace in the Middle East.

Even the upbeat European Union was hinting at some potential conflict, as one of its officials said she would be in touch with Obama to “make sure we are working together on opening free trade,” arguably the area of Obama’s policies that makes Europe most nervous. A few countries were decidedly cool about the election of Obama. Other countries hinted more vaguely at hoping Obama would work with the world on the international financial crisis, energy, terrorism, food shortages, global warming and more than a few other subjects.

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