Bush’s Win Draws Mixed Reviews


The very excellent On-line WSJ has an interesting round up of editorial reactions around the world to the re-election of President George W. Bush. Papers like Pakistan’s Nation and the Lebanon Daily Star saw Mr. Bush’s win as strengthening his apparent go-it-alone approach. But some editorial writers urged Mr. Bush to try to make more effort to cooperate with the international community.

Liberation, France

It is a revolution of which the consequences will endure longer than the “hangover” of criticism coming from the rest of the world, including France. … It was truly America that made its choice in the person of this Texan by adoption: a populist, mostly suburban or rural, fundamentally nationalist America. Preoccupied above all by its security and focused on the fundamental values of its Christian religion, the two core motivations of the Bush vote. … A new reactionary majority, rallied around Bush by a law-and-order reflex in a time of war has cemented its grip on democracy in America. The rest of the world can deplore it, but it must adapt itself to this reality.

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Times of London, Britain
Bush Has an Exceptional Opportunity — He Must Seize It

The paradox of Mr Bush’s endorsement at the polls is that he is now free of the constraints imposed by voters. He should consider this a liberation and an extraordinary opportunity. He can serve one more four-year term in Washington and has the capacity to shape his legacy like few American politicians before him. He must seize that chance. He can advance an imaginative agenda for himself and his party. … Even if Mr Bush were to do all this and more, there would still be some who belittle him or doubt the sincerity of his motives. That is unfortunate. The President should not waste time trying to appease or win over those who have no time for him. There is the chance, perhaps, that with the passage of time the qualities which Americans see in this politician will become more obvious to others. Mr Bush must exploit the prominence that he has been given for four more years.

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The Nation, Pakistan
The Eagle Mumbles

The implications are not very positive for the rest of the world. President Bush spent a confrontational first term, with invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq merely the most egregious examples of his unilateralism. He would feel vindicated by victory, and the world might face an even more aggressive, more unilateralist, more self-righteous Bush. The only hope is that a second Bush administration will be more concerned about its legacy, and will use its remaining four years to tackle with greater realism and justice the trouble spots it has itself created, and try to heal the world rather than wound it further by its shenanigans in the so-called War on Terror.

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Haaretz, Israel
Israelis Should Understand November 2

…The truth is that Bush’s victory is a dramatic one. A historic victory. Perhaps even a milestone victory. And this is not only because he succeeded in repelling a comprehensive attack by the liberals in American society. This is because he also beat down the East Coast elites and the West Coast elites. This is because he brought about a stunning defeat of the enlightened American public. Israelis should understand very well what happened in the United States on November 2, 2004. After all, this is exactly what happened here on June 30, 1996. When on the morning after the elections for prime minister in which Benjamin Netanyahu defeated Shimon Peres, Israel split into two nations.

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The Scotsman, Scotland
America’s New Conservatism

European opinion, already somewhat alienated from Republican America, is likely to regard these developments with horror. There will be a tendency for Europe to try to go its own way, culturally, politically and economically. Such a response would be contradictory, as Europe’s main political criticism of the Bush White House is its alleged unilateralism. Better for Europe to try to understand the profound changes taking place in America, because they are here to stay. The paranoid conspiracy theories of Michael Moore only obscure a rational analysis of the deep-seated changes in American society and voting behaviour.

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The Australian, Australia
Four More Years for George Bush

Our alliance with the US would have remained as strong if John Kerry had been elected. And while Australia is recognised as a loyal ally in Washington, the Americans are far more important to us than we are to them. As American nit-picking in the negotiations for the free trade agreement demonstrates, the Bush administration is unlikely to do us any special favours. But the friendship between [Prime Minister John] Howard and Mr Bush obviously transcends their respective political positions and a personal relationship based on shared convictions will strengthen the formal alliance. What Mr Bush’s political faith will mean for America’s international role is less clear. Iraq is in turmoil and the war on terror far from over. But whatever happens over the next four years, we can expect Mr Bush to act with confidence in his judgment, faith in the American people and a refusal to back away from any fight in their defence.

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The Daily Star, Lebanon
And Now … 4 More Years of War?

America does not want a dialogue with [its] enemies, still less a negotiation. It does not recognise that they have any legitimate grievance. It wants them destroyed. And it believes Bush is the man to do it. There is another major reason for Bush’s victory, and it lies in the belief of many Americans that God is on his side — a conviction Bush, a born-again Christian, has not hesitated to proclaim. His sense of divine mission is typical of the religious mindset which now characterises much of America — its vast rural communities rather than its secular cities.

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The Guardian, Britain
This Is No Passing Phase. This Is Now an Era

Democrats need to stare long and hard at that map and at this comprehensive defeat. Exit pollsters, who failed so dismally to predict the result, made some telling discoveries. Many Bush voters admitted their unhappiness on Iraq and confessed to great economic hardship – two issues which ordinarily would be enough to defeat an incumbent. But these voters backed Mr Bush, because he reflected something they regarded as even more important: their values. Those values can be boiled down to issues – abortion, guns, gays – but they represent a larger, cultural difference.

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Deutsche Welle, Germany
Right Swing Weights Election in Bush’s Favor

The terrorist attacks in New York and Washington were the determining moments of President Bush’s first term of office. Bush’s stance of resilience was adopted by many Americans. But his subsequent global campaign against terror has not made the United States more secure. Even so, Bush is perceived by many as a president of action, and his credo that the American people should be defended at any cost has prompted many undecided voters to lean his way. Even the fiasco of Iraq has failed to change that. Additionally, Bush skillfully exploited conservative mentalities in the American hinterlands, where his drive against homosexual marriages and the liberal notion of choice in abortion issues succeeded in mobilizing religious Christians, above all.

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The Taipei Times, Taiwan
A Salutary Political Divide

The divide that the American public feels today is almost the same divide that Taiwan is facing. The main sources of division are not differences in the stance of a candidate or a party. Rather, it is lingering debate over past election results, and the fact that nearly half of those who voted did not support the final outcome. Such deep-seated opposition has gradually turned into disgust with the leadership of both countries. It has spread everywhere, gradually eroding sensible debate, with feelings coming to a head during the presidential election campaigns.

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Calgary Herald, Canada
America Staying Course With Bush

As for Canada, the outcome holds only a barely warm prospect for relief on trade issues. Bush is a protectionist for pragmatic rather than ideological reasons. While he may be kindly disposed to Canadian appeals to open the border to Canadian exports of live cattle, he is unlikely to favour this country over the demands of domestic lobbyists. In any case, it is not as if Ottawa has gone out of its way to elevate its reputation in Washington. Canadians who expect little will not be disappointed.

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The Times of India, India
White House Limbo

So how does America and the rest of the world insulate itself from such constitutional gremlins which cause major glitches in the working of the world’s most muscular democracy? In the coming days and maybe weeks, pundits will doubtless come up with many prescriptions. Ought America to give up its either/or presidential system and opt for a cabinet-based prime-ministerial option which can accommodate coalitional governments? … Should the U.S. outsource its electoral process to India’s remarkably efficient Election Commission?

Bush’s Win Draws Mixed Reviews
November 4, 2004 7:42 a.m.

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  1. saMvaad commented on Nov 4

    2004 U.S. Elections: Reactions from around the World

    Barry Ritholtz points out that the online WSJ has a collection of editorials from around the world discussing the Bush-Cheney victory. As he points out, and as one would have expected, the commentary is mixed bag of reviews. These are,

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