World Reaction to Obama Win

International reaction to the historic election of Barack Obama as President-elect of the United States has begun.

I’m collecting some reactions to Obama’s victory from around the world. (The photo to the left is from Israel)

Reaction to Obama’s win ranged from jubilation to trepidation on the streets of the world’s capital cities as official congratulations from heads of state began to flow shortly after Republican candidate John McCain conceded the election.[McCain’s concession speech was very impressive, BTW]

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki called Obama’s victory in the US presidential election a “momentous” day for Kenya, where Obama’s father was born.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Obama’s victory took the world into a “new era.” “The election of Senator Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States has taken the American people and the rest of the world with them into a new era – an era where race, colour and ethnicity, I hope, will also disappear… in politics in the rest of the world,” he said.

BBC: World Welcomes Obama Victory. The United States has seen the biggest transformation in its standing in the world since the election of Kennedy in November 1960. This is a country which has habitually, sometimes irritatingly, regarded itself as young and vibrant, the envy of the world. Often this is merely hype. But there are times when it is entirely true. With Barack Obama’s victory, one of these moments seems to have arrived.

LONDON: Within hours of Senator Barack Obama claiming the Democratic presidential nomination, the world’s attention switched from a primary campaign that had riveted outsiders to a presidential contest that raises deep concerns about where and how America will lead the world.

Even though Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton did not immediately concede defeat, Obama’s claim shifted the focus from the tantalizing question of the primaries — were the Democrats prepared to make history on matters of race and gender — to the looming battle between relative youth and relative age, between experience and renewal and, most of all, between the untested champion of the Democrats to the nominee of a Republican Party whose global image has been scarred by the war in Iraq and fear of neo-conservative adventures.

…Gerard Baker, the U.S. editor of The Times of London, wrote: “In 220 years a country that has steadily multiplied in diversity, where ethnic minorities and women have risen to the very highest positions in so many fields of human life, has chosen a succession of 42 white men as its leader. For good measure, the vice presidency, the only other nationally directly elected position in the US government, has been held by a succession of 46 white males.”

“But last night, in a tumultuous break with this long history, the ultimate realization of the American dream moved a little closer, and a black man became his party’s nominee for the presidency,” Baker wrote.

The Guardian: Obama is England’s Hope Too They did it. They really did it. So often crudely caricatured by others, the American people yesterday stood in the eye of history and made an emphatic choice for change for themselves and the world. Though bombarded by a blizzard of last-minute negative advertising that should shame the Republican party, American voters held their nerve and elected Barack Obama as their new president to succeed George Bush. Elected him, what is more, by a clearer majority than one of those bitter narrow margins that marked the last two elections…

…Mr Obama will take office in January amid massive unrealisable expectations and facing a daunting list of problems – the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the broken healthcare system, the spiralling federal budget and America’s profligate energy regime all prominent among them. Eclipsing them all, as Mr Obama has made clear in recent days, is the challenge of rebuilding the economy and the banking system. These, though, are issues for another day. Today is for celebration, for happiness and for reflected human glory. Savour those words: President Barack Obama, America’s hope and, in no small way, ours too.

Haaretz: Israel is worried about what the outcome of America’s presidential election may portend for Washington’s policy on Iran. On most Israel-related issues, Jerusalem foresees no dramatic changes in U.S. policy, regardless of who is elected. On Iran, however, it is worried that Democratic candidate Barack Obama will take a significantly softer line than the outgoing administration has. During his campaign, Obama repeatedly said that if elected, he would begin a dialogue with the Iranian regime.

The Australian: Obama Has World Mandate IT IS a sublime moment – Barack Obama to succeed George W. Bush, an affirmation of America, its foundation mission, its abiding dreams.

The American people have turned the page. This is more than a vote for change. It is a act of renewal, a turning point in American history and a quest for a better nation. The American people chose Obama yet most of the world also wanted Obama – that invests his Presidency with a potential authority unknown in history and an opportunity to touch not just Americans but people around the world.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd: Obama has turned Martin Luther King’s dream into a reality . “Twenty-five years ago Martin Luther King had a dream of an America where men and women would be judged not on the colour of their skin but on the content of their character,” Rudd told reporters. “Today what America has done is turn that dream into a reality.”

New Straits Times: TODAY we will feast our eyes, ears and hearts on the results of our election. Oops. Well, it does seem as if the United States’ presidential election this time around belongs not just to the Americans. From the pastoral plains of Kenya, whose citizens proudly claim Barack Obama as their own, to the dizzy cheerleading of a Japanese fishing port called Obama, the US presidential race is not just some run-of-the-mill passing-of-a-governing-baton. Locally, we will have woken up this morning to results coming in from American states in the morning right through noon and beyond. For the first time in history, people all over the world are riveted to an election they feel invested in…

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