Much of the World Applauds Obama

One of them was Rully Dasad, who refers to the president-elect, his third-grade classmate, as Barry.

"I'm very grateful, thank God for him that finally he reached, achieved, what he's been seeking all this time," he said. "Good luck, Barry."

Another classmate, Dewi Asmara Oetoyo, said, "After a long, long rally of campaign, he did it. We are so happy for him and his family and also we are so proud of him."

There is a hope here in Indonesia that Obama will help bridge the gap between the two countries and cultures.

"I believe Obama would be able to restore the trust, the confidence, the hope, of Indonesians towards Americans," said Todung Mulya Lubis, CEO of Transparency International-Indonesia, a nongovernmental organization addressing corruption. "This is a really good and historical moment, for both countries."


In Italy, Romans on the street this morning were openly excited by the results.

Drinking their coffees and cappuccinos, some called the election results "real democracy." Many had watched Obama's victory speech this morning before they left home; it aired live before 5 a.m. Italian time.

Though most didn't seem sure about how Obama as president would or could change things for them, they were especially relieved that this marked the end of the Bush era.

"Of course, it affects me," said Filippo at his newsstand this morning, as he happily handed out papers with Obama on all the front pages. "This is change. Not like that Bush. ... Oh mamma mia."

One commentator on television this morning summed up the country's mood, saying, "While the rest of the world is questioning America's supremacy as world leader, Americans elect a true postmodern politician, one who encapsulates the whole American dream in one person."

South Korea

But popular fascination with Obama is already yielding to hard questions in some countries.

In South Korea, young people cheered for Obama. Chung Han-Ho, a 24-year-old student, told ABC News that "I have high hopes for him. He will put an end to racism around the world."

South Korean leaders, however, fear Obama's stance on diplomatic and trade issues with the two Koreas. South Korea is waiting for the U.S. Congress to ratify a free-trade agreement, which Obama has said he opposes, claiming that it gives U.S. automakers too little access to the South Korean market. Denuclearization of North Korea is another big issue.

Obama mentioned that he would meet Kim Jong-Il in person for direct talks, a meeting that North Korea has long wanted but that the Bush administration has denied.

The prospect of direct talks is not welcomed by the conservative South Korean government, which believes that it would only increase the unpredictability in North-South relations and might even relegate South Korea to the sidelines.

Future Change in Policies?


Obama-mania has not reached fever pitch everywhere. In Pakistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world, many doubt any new U.S. president can make real changes in what they see as hostile American policy.

In Pakistan, most people are skeptical that President Barack Obama will change U.S. policies there.

"It really didn't matter whether it was [John] McCain or Obama," 38-year-old Mohammad Fasil Aziz said. "It was going to be the same policies implemented."

Among others, however, especially among the elite, there is hope that Obama will at least focus more on economic development than on CIA drone attacks inside Pakistan.

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