World speaks out on US elections

Al Jazeera asks people around the world for their thoughts on the White House race.

    Somalia is one of many nations who may be affected by the new US president [EPA] 

    Al Jazeera website readers from Somalia, Israel, Venezuela and the Philippines give their view on how the US elections will affect them.

    Abdullah Sheikh, 26, school teacher, Somalia

    Somalis are interested in the US election more than any other nation in the world, because the US government is involved in Somalia and supports the transitional federal government (TFG) which is composed of ruthless warlords formed by Ethiopia and supported by the Bush administration. 

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    I am in Mogadishu. The US proxy war in Somalia has caused me to lose my job, my school was destroyed by Ethiopian missiles, my students fled and my wife and three kids are suffering in an IDP [internally displaced persons camp] in the outskirts of the city.

    I am jobless and I cannot get job unless there is peace and there is no peace unless Ethiopian forces leave the country.

    If Democrats win in the election I hope they will condemn the [war] in Somalia and urge Ethiopian forces to stop killing innocent people.

    Barack Obama seems the best candidate for me and my country because he is an ethnic African, he is from the Democrats and he is a young, intelligent man [who] can understand the concerns of African nations and the poor people.

    Some people in Somalia still remember the 1993 battle between the late Somali warlord General Mohamed Farah Aideed and US rangers.

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    That operation caused several hundreds of Somalis and 18 US soldiers to die and US Black Hawk helicopters were shot down.

    Hillary Clinton was the first lady and her husband, Bill Clinton, was in the White House at that time, so Somalians fear that she may continue supporting the Ethiopian occupation.

    We believe any change in the White House could also change the situation in Somalia.

    The presence of the Ethiopian occupation has created generations of religious warriors in Somalia, and there are thousands of nationalists radicalised by the daily diet of violence.

    The Bush administration in the White House is happy with the brutal events in Somalia by Ethiopian forces but, God willing, the Democrats will be different from Bush and his Republicans.

    People in Somalia prefer Democrats to dominate the White House, because the Democrats are less violent than Republicans.

    Su Schachter, Kibbutz Gezer, Israel

    Any US president who would push us, either politically or by using the aid package as a bribe, to end the conflict in a peaceful and just way would be good for Israel

    I think it is a frightening reflection of the enormous power that the United States exerts worldwide that most of the world's countries are thinking, wondering and worrying about how the US elections will affect us all.

    Certainly, Israel would be better off if it were more independent of US influence and more concerned about elections and power shifts in the neighbouring Middle Eastern countries, who are our more natural allies in the global scheme.

    Israel only suffers from the continuation of conflict between us and our neighbours; we suffer morally, financially, socially, ecologically, socio-economically and of course politically.

    Any US president who would push us, either politically or by using the aid package as a bribe, to end the conflict in a peaceful and just way would be good for Israel.

    Therefore I would say that any of the Republican fundamentalist candidates would be worst for Israel since they all encourage (and fund) the conflict and encourage (and fund) fundamentalist groups and politicians in Israel.

    Hillary Clinton, though she talks a good line of two-state solution and the importance of conflict resolution, seems likely to be similar to her husband in foreign policy and hence more invested in the appearance of pushing for an end to the conflict rather than taking radical steps to force us to withdraw from territories and negotiate meaningfully.

    Obama is an unknown in foreign policy, but I am afraid he will rely on liberal Jewish votes to get elected and American Jews tend to be liberal on domestic issues but too unthinkingly supportive of Israeli governmental policies.

    Perhaps Obama will live up to his promise and implement a new American policy on third world and Middle Eastern issues. If so, he could be our best candidate.

    My fear is too many Americans are committed to a hawkish Israel, either as the fulfillment of their Christian messianic beliefs or as a stronghold for an interventionist American military presence, to allow any candidate to push for a significant change in the status quo.

    The sad reality is that too many Israelis agree with them.

    Luis Quijada, Cabimas, Venezuela

    The primaries on the Republican side have been a bit shocking for me.

    Chavez's relationship with a new US leader
    will prove crucial to Venezuela[AFP]
    I thought [former New York mayor] Giuliani and [Arizona senator] McCain would be now neck-and-neck, but Giuliani preferred to wait for Florida. Bad choice!

    For me, it's McCain on the Republican side. On the Democrats it's a bit more clear, I think Hillary will get the nomination despite her clumsy husband (I don't think the attacks on Obama are helping Hillary at all).

    Senator Obama can wait and get re-elected as senator in 2010.

    As for Venezuela, I guess we'd prefer a Democrat. I don't think it's going to affect my life at all, not even an insane US president would ever dare to invade us.

    But as far as diplomatic relations are concerned, a Democrat is easier for us to talk to.
    All of them are talking about getting out of Iraq and President Chavez has condemned over and over again the invasion, so if it is a Democrat - he or she will have something in common with Chavez.

    I cannot predict the future, but I do hope the new US president is someone everyone can talk to, negotiate with, and above all, be reliable.

    Ian K Siaotong, Philippines/Saudi Arabia

    I am a migrant worker from the Philippines and currently reside and work in Saudi Arabia. 

    The US has changed leadership for decades yet there is no change in their policy towards their Third World country allies

    The Philippines is a traditional ally of the US. Our country, a Third World country, for decades has been dependent on US aid, particularly military equipment. 

    Our government is hostage to the US since we cannot change our foreign policy - such as establishing closer relations with other nations that America considers as enemy - or we risk losing US aid. 

    Aside from the aid, we could also face economic sanctions and it would mean economic collapse as the US is our number one trade partner. 

    I see no difference in whoever wins the US presidential race. The US has changed leadership for decades yet there is no change in their policy towards their Third World country allies.

    For me it is a close call between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democrats and John McCain and Mitt Romney for the Republicans. 

    I personally want a candidate from the Democratic Party to win this year's presidential election; I prefer Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama as she is more experienced.

    The Republicans are too conservative and I doubt if a new Republican president would dare to change their foreign policy. 

    I do not think that the US elections will affect my life directly. The results may affect my country and Saudi Arabia, where I work, but not me. 

    However, the devaluation of the US dollar has affected the economies of so many countries and the Philippine peso is at an all time high. 

    The downside of the rising peso is that migrant workers' earnings are reduced.  The Saudi Arabian riyal is a fixed currency so the declining rate of dollars does not affect the Saudi Arabian economy. 

    With the rising oil prices at $100 per barrel, it will only make Saudi Arabia richer. 

    Everyone in the US wants change. It would be a breather if a Democratic president is elected. However, a 360-degree change in US foreign policy is maybe too idealistic.

    Click here to read more views on the US elections from around the world

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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