Many leaders seemed to suggest that a second-term Obama would be unshackled from the constraints that bedevil a first-termer, no matter how polarized the United States remains after years of bitter campaigning. Some hoped that changes were imminent.
British Prime Minister David Cameron had barely tweeted a “warm congratulations” to his “friend” before he said that he wanted to start working harder on stopping the bloodshed in Syria.
“There are so many things that we need to do,” Cameron said during a visit to a Jordanian refugee camp Wednesday, according to a transcript on his Web site. “One of the first things I want to talk to Barack about is how we must do more to try and solve this crisis.”
Some Turkish and NATO officials have said privately in recent weeks that they thought the United States was holding back on Syria until after the election, though the White House has given no public indication of that being the case. According to the Associated Press, Cameron’s office said Wednesday that it was planning to hold internal strategy meetings to talk the Americans into taking a bigger role in the conflict.
In Egypt, a top official with the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, Essam el-Erian, also said that he hoped to get down to business on Syria, according to the state-run Middle East News Agency.
On other foreign-policy flash points, many observers abroad welcomed what they hoped would be a less-heated tone, with Obama done proving his tough-guy bona fides.
In Iran, where the state-run English-language television channel Press TV carried a live broadcast of Obama’s victory speech, many citizens sighed with relief. For months, he and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, competed with each other about who could take the harder line against Iran and its efforts to obtain nuclear weapons.
“Now I can breathe, because we won’t be attacked,” said an 89-year-old woman in Tehran.
The hope, many said, is that Obama will be more inclined toward negotiations if he isn’t worried about being accused of going soft on Iran. Among Iranian officials, there was a subdued response to the election results, but some indicated a new openness to negotiations in remarks to state news agencies.
Ties and influence
What might be a bright spot for Iranians is a fear for Israel’s leaders, who with Romney’s defeat lost the chance to work with a man who has been friends with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for decades.