Around the world, much is expected from Obama

Associated Press | 6/11/2008, 5:39 a.m.

“Obama came from the black community, the community that has a long history of suffering in the U.S. Of course he would feel sympathy with those who suffered the same, like Palestinians,” said Fayez Abu Zeid, a 54-year-old baker in Jenin on the West Bank.

“In all aspects, Obama is much better for our part of this world. He is similar to us.”

There is still much skepticism in the Middle East and elsewhere about the possibility of an Obama victory because of deeply held beliefs about American racism.

“Obama will not be accepted by the majority of the American people because he is black,” said Sateh Noureddine, managing editor of the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir. “Also, neither U.S. traditions nor the political balance of power will allow this to happen.”

There is a tendency in some places to discount Obama’s campaign statements and assume that if he is elected he will largely embrace mainstream American economic and foreign policy as practiced in the last few decades.

Sheng Dingli, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in China, said that Obama’s criticism of China, for example, will likely fade if he is elected president.

“He’s harsh toward China on both human rights and trade issues,” Sheng said.

“But he will change, just like George [H.W.] Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. They were all harsh toward China during the campaign, but softened after the election. Their job is to protect America’s interests, and they know trade with China benefits America.”

Associated Press writers worldwide contributed to this report.

(Associated Press)