November 7, 2012


[Yet, the clamor 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. ”]
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LONDON — World leaders on Wednesday sought comfort from the familiar after President Obama’s re-election but, with the global political landscape substantially unchanged, competed for his attention and favor as he embarks on a second term with many major issues unresolved from the first.
In marked contrast to a euphoric surge four years ago when many hailed Mr. Obama’s victory as a herald of renewal, the mood was more subdued, reflecting not only the shadings of opinion between the American leader’s friends and foes but also a generally lowered expectations of America’s power overseas.
Mr. Obama, one French analyst said, is “very far from the hopes that inflamed his country four years ago.”
Yet, the clamor 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. ”
He urged President Obama to reassert “the deep and meaningful relationship between the U.S. and Israel,” and visit Israel for the first time as president. “Now is the time for President Obama to return to the wise and time-honored policy of ‘zero daylight’ between our respective nations,” he said.
Mr. Danon is a member of the conservative Likud Party led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has tense relations with Mr. Obama and who was widely perceived in Israel and the United States as having supported the Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.
“It was our mistake that Bibi went and kissed the other one before the election,” said Michael Pashko, a worker in an electrical supplies store in Jerusalem, referring to the prime minister by his nickname. “Those kisses will cost him dearly.”
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 Mr. 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.
Before the outcome was known, Chinese analysts had summed up what seemed to be a widespread calculation that the Chinese leadership, itself scheduled to change in two days time, favored Mr. Obama “because he’s familiar,” said Wu Xinbo, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai. A victory for Mr. Romney would have made China “a little nervous because he might bring new policies.”
Chinese President Hu Jintao, praised the “hard work of the Chinese and American sides” over Mr. Obama’s first term in creating “positive developments” in their relationship.
“Maintaining the healthy and stable development of China-U.S. relations not only benefits the people of the two countries and is in the common interests of the people of the two countries, but also helps to maintain peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region and the world as a whole,” the Chinese leader said.
“With an eye toward the future, China is willing, together with the United States, to continue to make efforts to promote the cooperative partnership between China and the United States so as to achieve new and even greater development, bringing better benefits to the people of the two countries and the people of the world.”
China’s response was colored by a pre-election pledge from Mr. Romney to label Beijing a currency manipulator. “With Obama continuing,” said Poon Tsang, a street market vendor in Hong Kong, “there should be some stability in his relationship with China.”
Across Europe, many greeted news of the Obama re-election with a sense of mild relief, though it was not immediately clear whether those feelings were accompanied by any enhanced expectation that, armed with a new mandate, the Obama administration would find solutions to the huge challenges still facing it in Iran, Syria and the Middle East.
Speaking to reporters during a visit to a camp in Jordan for Syrian refugees, British Prime Minister David Cameron said early on Wednesday: “Right here in Jordan I’m hearing appalling stories of what is happening inside Syria.” He added: “One of the first things I want to talk to Barack about is how we must do more to try and solve this crisis,” Reuters reported.
But, on the ground, rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad seemed divided over the impact of a second term for Mr. Obama. A commander who wished to be known only by his first name, Maysara, said he expected Washington to take a much clearer stance within 10 days. “If they don’t, Syria will become like Somalia.”
By contrast, Fawaz Tello, an opposition figure living in Germany, referred to a Romney proposal to help the rebels while “Obama made no clear proposals.” A second term for Mr. Obama, he said, was “not a good sign.”
Mr. Cameron offered his congratulations in a Twitter message, reflecting the use of social networking sites to spread word of Mr. Obama’s victory: the French newspaper Le Figaro said 300,000 people sent Twitter messages announcing Mr. Obama’s victory.
During the election campaign, Mr. Romney visited London but drew pointed barbs from Mr. Cameron, and London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, both Conservatives, by questioning the city’s preparedness and enthusiasm for the Summer Olympics.
Britain is a close ally of successive American administrations in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and in its response to the so-called Arab Spring, priding itself on what Mr. Cameron and others call a “special relationship.” Washington’s reach elsewhere is more ambiguous.
After his election in 2008, for instance, Mr. Obama promised a “reset” with Moscow. But the United States and Russia took opposing positions on the Libyan and Syrian crises and the Kremlin has depicted the American response to anti-government protests in Moscow as undermining the return to power of President Vladimir V. Putin.
Russian leaders “feel they have been duped and victimized and the U.S. has it in for them,” said Vladimir Pozner, who hosts a talk show on Russia’s Channel One. “There is not a lot of trust in any kind of American administration wanting to improve relations with Russia. There is a feeling that if Russia disappeared, the United States would be overjoyed.”
In Indonesia, where Mr. Obama spent some of his childhood years, students at his former elementary school cheered his victory, as did elite Indonesians gathered at a party hosted by the American Embassy. On the streets, motorcycle taxi drivers raised their fists, shouting “Obama, Obama.”
“He has a good dream for the world and he doesn’t support violence,” said Asmat Abdullah, a motorcycle taxi driver perched on a curb in central Jakarta. “Indonesians still believe in Obama.”
For some Europeans, the victory offered an object lesson in the politics of economic hardship that has cost leaders in France, Spain, Britain and elsewhere their jobs.
“Obama has succeeded where Sarkozy, Zapatero and Brown failed — to be re-elected amid a major economic crisis,” deputy editor François Sergent wrote in a special edition of the leftist newspaper Libération in France, whose front-page headline proclaimed simply: “Yes!”
However, Mr. Sergent said, Mr. Obama is “very far from the hopes that inflamed his country four years ago. It is up to him, free from any electoral worry, to show that he can still change, and change his country.”
Mr. Obama’s re-election also fed into sharp European debate over the merits of growth vs. austerity to combat the crisis in the euro zone.
French President François Hollande said he hoped Mr. Obama’s second term would bring a renewed focus on economic growth — a theme echoed in Spain where austerity measures have repeatedly brought protesters onto the streets. Many Spaniards had also bridled at Mr. Romney’s depiction of their country during a presidential debate as an exemplar of bad economic management.
“We in Spain wanted Obama to win because he is more like us, we still see him as a transformative leader,” said Manel Manchon, a political scientist. “Romney insulted Spain and you can’s just blame Spain for this crisis.”
Reporting was contributed by Jane Perlez and Keith Bradsher in Beijing, Hilda Wang in Hong Kong, Isabel Kershner and Jodi Rudoren in Jerusalem, Ellen Barry and Andrew Roth in Moscow, Sara Schonhardt in Jakarta, Indonesia, Scott Sayare in Paris, Dan Bilefsky in Barcelona, Spain, and Tim Arango and Hwaida Saad in Antakya, Turkey.