Radio Free Europe, Czechia
Nov. 3, 2004
World: Sampling Of Reaction To U.S. Vote Shows Cautious Optimism
By Don Hill
In opinion polls before the 2 November vote in the United States,
citizens of countries from Canada to South Korea — with the notable
exceptions of Russia and Israel — declared an overwhelming preference
for Democratic Senator John Kerry to win the U.S. presidential election
over Republican incumbent George W. Bush. But as the time neared for
declaring an actual winner, international figures and people on the
streets displayed a cautious optimism. RFE/RL collects a sampling of
various opinions from Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and around the
Prague, 3 November 2004 (RFE/RL) — Tajik parliamentarian Olim
Salomzoda said that whoever won yesterday’s U.S. vote is far less
important to Tajikistan than whether U.S. policy in his region is
consistent and respects democratic norms. Salomzoda spoke to RFE/RL in
“It is up to the American voters who to choose, but what is important
to us is that [U.S.] foreign policy in our region, in Central Asia,
should stay the same. But if changes occur, they should be proper to
democratic processes. We want to have peace both in Afghanistan and
Iraq,” Salomzoda said. The result of yesterday’s U.S. presidential vote
remained in limbo midday today over a balloting dispute in the state of
Ohio. It wasn’t clear when a winner would be named.
Kazakh parliamentarian Amalbeck Tshanov told RFE/RL in Astana that
responsibility for U.S.-Kazakh relations depends primarily on the
Kazakhs themselves, regardless of who presides over the U.S.
“How Kazakh-U.S. relations develop depends on us. If our so-called
democratic reforms become really democratic, there will be positive
changes. If our pseudo-democratic changes remain just cosmetic efforts,
if a de facto single party continues to dominate, [the U.S. leadership]
will have to alter its attitude [toward Kazakhstan] negatively,”
The result of yesterday’s U.S. presidential vote remained in limbo
midday today over a balloting dispute in the state of Ohio. It wasn’t
clear when a winner would be named.
In Moscow, Editor in Chief Fedor Lukyanov of the Russian quarterly
journal, “Russia in Global Policy,” said Russian leaders preferred Bush
because they feared that a president from the U.S. Democratic Party
would revive Cold War-style confrontation.
“Moscow is very concerned that if a Democratic administration comes to
power, this could bring about a return, to a certain degree, to [former
U.S. President Bill] Clinton’s policies of the U.S. administration’s
active involvement in Russia’s internal politics, and this is
definitely not what Moscow wants now,” Lukyanov said.
The chairman of the Armenian opposition National Accord Party, Artashes
Geghamian, spoke to RFE/RL in Yerevan. “Winning the election, George W.
Bush will pursue one real goal, and that is to ensure his name in the
history books, in positive terms,” Geghamian said. “So I think U.S.
policy will become much more tolerant and cooperative than before.”
In Georgia, Maya Nadiradze, majority leader in parliament, told RFE/RL:
“After coming to power, [any] new administration will start
establishing new relationships. That includes introducing a new policy
toward our neighbor Russia, too. All the above will either slow or
delay certain processes, even change directions.”
In recent months, France has emerged as an expected source of
dissatisfaction with the United States. Speaking to the Reuters news
agency today, a man identified only as Xavier did not disappoint: “I
think it is a pity for the world because it means the continuation of
American hegemony. I think in Europe, in old Europe, everyone hoped
that Kerry would win.”
But in Kyrgyzstan, the deputy speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the
lower house of parliament, Kubatbek Baibolov, was strongly supportive
of Bush. “I think it will be better for us if Bush wins. First of all,
his policies are known better. Secondly, if the U.S. continues its
fight against terrorism at such a pace and in such a way, then we will
also benefit from this policy,” he told RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service.