Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Midterms for all

It is quite amazing how these elections can reverberate around the world, and it reinforces how important American politics and policies are to the rest of the global population. With the take-back of the House (and perhaps the Senate... still seeing how a couple races end), the Democrats have offered a lot of hope to a great number of people.

In the Middle East, where in pro-Western Jordan, a newspaper editor said many Arabs "are delighted that the American voters have at least disassociated themselves from [President Bush's] dangerous policies."

At the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), some of the participants at a climate conference pointed to the midterm elections as a sign that positive changes might come about in the U.S.'s environmental attitude. "President Bush still has two more years in office so it's very unlikely that the U.S. negotiating posture will change," said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists. He added that the fact that Democrats, many of whom support emissions caps, took control of the House means climate and energy issues will be prominent in the 2008 presidential campaign.

It also has highlighted the need for a strong bipartisan (damn I hate that word; it just sounds like politician-speak for elections) work to keep the influence of America strong. Some around the globe worry that a rift in the power scheme of our legislature, coupled with a lame-duck second-term president might stall progress on international issues by weakening much-needed American influence. In other parts of the world:

"We hope American foreign policy will change and that living conditions in Iraq will improve," said 48-year-old engineer Suheil Jabar, a Shiite Muslim in Baghdad.

In Copenhagen, Denmark, 35-year-old Jens Langfeldt said he did not know much about the midterm elections but was opposed to Bush's values. He referred to the president as "that cowboy."

In Sri Lanka, some said they hoped the rebuke would force Bush to abandon a unilateral approach to global issues.

Only time will tell if the Dems can capitalize on their success and translate it into real domestic and international policy development. They have been given a chance to prove that they are different, along with a time-line: 2 years to show something, or forget about the Presidency in 2008. Time to get moving.

No comments: