For decades, going back to the Soviet era, Moscow, much like China, preferred dealing with Republicans in Washington. But after a dramatic worsening of relations during the presidency of George W. Bush, the Kremlin has embraced Obama’s “reset.”
“Mr. Obama is the first American president after the Cold War who was not influenced by Cold War thinking,” said Viktor Kremenyuk, deputy director of Moscow’s Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies. But, like Russia, the United States has a large contingent of people who still have a Cold War outlook, he said. “And the Republicans mainly now represent that part of the population which continues to think in Cold War terms.”In the Middle East and the wider Islamic world, there were questions about whether a domestically weakened Obama would be able to pursue his goal of securing in his first term a final peace agreement between Israelis and the Palestinians. There was much pre-election commentary in Israel that Republican gains would make it harder for Obama to persuade Israel to make concessions in peace talks with the Palestinians. The Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz quoted Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who is expected to become the House majority leader, as saying a Republican victory “would have a tangible impact on improving the U.S.-Israel relationship.”
In Indonesia, Masdar Mas’udi, deputy chairman of the country’s largest Islamic group, said he feared the election results would hamper Obama’s outreach to Muslims. “We now feel more pessimistic about his ability to solve the problem between the Muslim world and the West,” he said.