Obama victory: Leaders compete for attention

World leaders on Wednesday sought comfort from the familiar (after President Barack Obama’s re-election) but, with the global political landscape substantially unchanged, competed for his attention and favour as he embarks on a second term with many major issues unresolved from the first.

Report by NY Times

In marked contrast to a euphoric surge four years ago when many hailed Obama’s victory as a herald of renewal, the mood was subdued, reflecting not only the shadings of opinion between the American leader’s friends and foes, but also generally lowered expectations of America’s power overseas.

Obama, one French analyst said, is “very far from the hopes that inflamed his country four years ago.”

The clamour for the re-elected president’s attention came particularly clearly from Israel, where Danny Danon, the deputy speaker of parliament regarded as a staunch ally of the Republicans, evoked “the existential threat posed to Israel and the West by the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran”.

“Now is the time for President Obama to return to the wise and time-honoured policy of ‘zero daylight’ between our respective nations,” he said.

Danon is a member of the conservative Likud Party led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has tense relations with Obama and who was widely perceived in Israel and the US as having supported the Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.

Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, said in a brief statement that he hoped President Obama would press for peace in the Middle East.

That call seemed mirrored in Malaysia, where Prime Minister Najib Razak urged Obama to “continue in his efforts to foster understanding and respect between the United States and Muslims around the world” — a relationship to which the American leader committed himself at the beginning of his first term.

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