LONDON - In Europe and across the Middle East, Africa and Asia,
President Bush's election victory produced two vastly different
reactions: Some welcomed it while others expressed a sense of
gloom and resignation.
In France, perhaps the epicenter of European hostility to Bush, a
feeling of despair was almost palpable.
"This is not going to make the relationship on the two sides of
the Atlantic any easier," said Guillaume Parmentier, director of
the French Center on the United States.
"After the 2000 election, there was a feeling in Europe that, OK,
he is a minority president, elected by one vote on the Supreme
Court. Now that he is re-elected by a majority, Europeans will
think, `Well, the Americans really want this guy,'" he said.
But soon after John Kerry conceded defeat, many Europeans turned
their attention to the nuts and bolts of dealing with four more
years of a Bush administration.
In Poland, the one European Union country where Bush still enjoys
a measure of popular sympathy, Grzegorz Kostrzewa-Zorbas, a
political analyst, noted that the Bush administration had not
provided Poland any significant contracts in Iraq, nor had it
eased visa requirements for Polish citizens--two reasons Poland
was unlikely to keep its troops in Iraq much longer.
Christoph Bertram, director of the German Institute for
International and Security Affairs in Berlin, also complained
about the Bush administration's "lack of professionalism" in its
relations with European allies but also warned that it was time
for Europe to face reality and set aside the anti-Bush rhetoric."
Governments around the world offered Bush their congratulations,
but for some it had a perfunctory ring.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush's closest ally in Europe,
told Parliament on Wednesday that he would push the president to
make a solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a top
priority in his second term.
But in the Middle East, there was little optimism. Even before
Kerry conceded, many Arabs had resigned themselves to the
re-election of Bush, whom they criticize for his strong support
of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, as well as U.S. handling
of the war in Iraq.
"A Bush victory will be a victory for his pre-emptive war
doctrine," Egyptian political analyst Mohammed Sid Ahmed wrote in
Al Ahram Weekly just before the vote.
At the top of the agenda for much of the Mideast is the troubled
U.S. effort to pacify and rebuild Iraq.
Yassin al Dhari, an American studies professor at Baghdad
University, said Bush's re-election ensures that "terrorism will
remain in Iraq and that terrorists will continue to be backed by
neighboring countries opposed to U.S. occupation of Iraq."
In Israel, Sharon's office expressed satisfaction with Bush's
re-election and said that Sharon would call Bush on Thursday to
But not all Israelis were pleased. Nita Schechet, 52, a
university lecturer with dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship, said she
had not voted in an American election since moving to Israel 32
years ago because she felt only people who lived in the U.S.
should vote. But this election was different.
"This time I felt like Bush was a danger to the world," said the
former Chicago resident.
In South Africa, where the cable television network aired Michael
Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" on the eve of the election and most
people support Kerry, many said they were worried about the
direction the U.S. was moving with Bush.
But Greg Mills, director of the South African Institute of
International Affairs, said the Bush victory was probably better
news for Africa than a changeover in administrations.
In terms of concrete assistance, Bush has "offered a surprising
amount of aid and trade concessions to Africa as well as
assistance with HIV/AIDS," Mills said.
In China, Bush's victory created little stir, with most people
interested mainly in U.S. policy toward China's rival, Taiwan.
"I don't care who is president as long as he helps return Taiwan
to us," said Sun Ping, a 58-year-old construction worker.
In India, the world's largest democracy, Bush's victory was seen
as good for business.
Raja Mohan, a professor of South Asian studies at Jawaharlal
Nehru University in New Delhi, noted that India has done more
business with the U.S. in the past four years than in the
"We believe the relationship is poised for a significant
expansion," Mohan said, "and the return of Bush raises that
With war raging in Iraq and the campaign against terrorism being
waged in South Asia and the Middle East, Latin America has fallen
toward the bottom of Bush's priority list. Its officials say they
do not expect relations to change much because Washington is
Argentina's main concern is restructuring nearly $100 billion in
defaulted debt, and the Bush administration has generally
supported its efforts.
In Mexico, Bush's re-election was never going to be popular on
the streets because of overwhelming opposition to the Iraq war
and the Bush administration's brash style in foreign policy. But
officials greeted it with renewed hope to make progress on
immigration reforms and other bilateral matters.
President Vicente Fox sent Bush a congratulatory letter
Wednesday, reminding him of the importance of the U.S.-Mexico
relationship and inviting him to make a state visit to Mexico
Although Cuban-American votes in Florida helped carry Bush to
victory, Cubans in Havana were stunned by Bush's re-election and
said they expected relations to remain tense between the two