Friday, June 6, 2008

Barack: winning hearts and minds (wham)

Overseas, Excitement Over Obama
In Presumptive Nominee, Many See Chance for New Direction and New Attitude

LONDON, June 4 -- For much of the world, Sen. Barack Obama's victory in the Democratic primaries was a moment to admire the United States at a time when the nation's image abroad has been seriously damaged.

From hundreds of supporters crowded around televisions in rural Kenya, Obama's ancestral homeland, to jubilant Britons writing "WE DID IT!" on the Brits for Barack discussion board on Facebook, people celebrated what they called an important racial and generational milestone for the United States.

"This is close to a miracle. I was certain that some things will not happen in my lifetime," said Sunila Patel, 62, a widow encountered on the streets of New Delhi. "A black president of the U.S. will mean that there will be more American tolerance for people around the world who are different." (look lady, we just had a retarded president for the last eight years... how much more respect for people who are "different" could you want?... ed.)

The primary race generated unprecedented interest outside the United States, much of it a reflection of a desire for change from the policies of President Bush, who surveys show is deeply unpopular around the globe. At the same time, many people abroad seemed impressed -- sometimes even shocked -- (SHOCKED!... ed.) by the wide-open nature of U.S. democracy, and the history-making race between a woman and a black man.

"The primaries showed that the U.S. is actually the nation we had believed it to be, a place that is open-minded enough to have a woman or an African American as its president," said Minoru Morita, a Tokyo political analyst.

While Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has admirers, especially from her days as first lady, interviews on four continents suggested that Obama is the candidate who has most captured the world's imagination.

"Obama is the exciting image of what we always hoped America was," said Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House, a British foreign policy institute. "We have immensely enjoyed the ride and can't wait for the next phase."

The presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, who has extensive overseas experience, is known and respected in much of the world. Interviews suggested that McCain is more popular than Obama in countries such as Israel, where McCain is particularly admired for his hard line against Iran.

"Although no one will admit it, Israeli leaders are worried about Obama," said Eytan Gilboa, a political scientist at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. "The feeling is that this is the time to be tough in foreign policy toward the Middle East, and he's going to be soft." (also - they hear he is a Muslim... ed.)
But elsewhere, people were praising Obama, 46, whose emphasis on using the Internet helped make him better known in more nations than perhaps any U.S. primary candidate in history.

In Kenya, Obama's victory was greeted with unvarnished glee. In Kisumu, close to the home of Obama's late father, hundreds crowded around televisions Wednesday morning to watch Obama's victory speech, chanting "Obama tosha!" -- "Obama is enough!"

"I can't express the joy in me," declared Sarah Obama, the senator's grandmother, at her home. "I'm only praying for more success in the coming days."

Sam Onyango, a water vendor in Kisumu, said that "Obama's victory means I might one day get to America and share the dreams I have always heard about. He will open doors for us there in the spirit of African brotherhood." (ruh-roh... ix-nay on the otherhood-bray... ed.)

Obama also has strong support in Europe, the heartland of anti-Bush sentiment. "Germany is Obama country," said Karsten Voight, the German government's coordinator for German-North American cooperation. "He seems to strike a chord with average Germans," who see him as a transformational figure like John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King Jr.

His father's journey to America as an immigrant resonates with many foreigners who hope to make the same trip. Many people interviewed said that although the candidate's living in Indonesia for several years as a child doesn't qualify as foreign policy credentials, it may give him a more instinctive feel for the plight of the developing world.

"He's African, he's an immigrant family; he has a different style. It's just the way he looks -- he seems kind," said Nagy Kayed, 30, a student at the American University in Cairo. (in udder words, not cut from the Bush-Cheney asshole mold... ed.)


Fungster said...

We should really give the rest of the world Electoral College votes. Mebbe Yurup gets 20, Africa gets like 5 to spite dem, Asia gets 25 etc, enuff to get us up to 601. Mebbe dat will get dem into da spirit of democracy. Not bombing dem into da stone age. Dat doesn't work.

Smiff said...

So let me try to understand this Israel thing - because of the McBush invasion/quagmire policy in Iraq, Iran has gotten much stronger in the region. So, naturally, Israel would want more of that? Maybe while we're at it, if McBush III occurs, we can strenghten Hamas and Syria as well... which goes to show, we don't have a monopoly on idiotic politicians.