As many of them had done once before just weeks ago, the nations of the world sent their congratulations to the new president-elect.
More than a month after Election Day, world leaders seemed ready, even eager, to work with President-elect George W. Bush. Or maybe they were just as relieved as Americans that the long legal battle was finally over.
“My warmest congratulations on your victory in the presidential election,” said British Prime Minister Tony Blair. “I know that together we will strengthen still further the special friendship between Britain and the United States.”
On election night, many nations sent out congratulatory messages to Bush only to realize that the contest was far from over (see related story). Some nations even retracted their congratulations.
That will not be necessary this time.
“It was a long and agonizing wait for you. I’m very glad it is finally settled,” said Blair.
Bush a Cherished Name in Germany
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder hurriedly sent his congratulations.
In a statement released in the middle of the night in Germany, Schroeder said the Bush name was popular and cherished in Germany because of the role his father George Bush had played in helping East and West Germany reunite in 1990.
“I wish you good fortune and success in your office as president of the United States,” Schroeder said. “The friendship between Germany and the United States is on a firm foundation. The decisive role that the United States played under the leadership of your father in helping reunite Germany is deeply embedded in the consciousness of all Germans.”
Despite early opposition from some European countries such as Britain and France, the United States during George Bush’s presidency was an immediate and enthusiastic supporter of West German efforts to reunite Germany following the collapse of the Berlin Wall in November 1989.
In Denmark, Foreign Minister Niels Helveg Petersen said he was satisfied with Bush’s commitment to the NATO alliance and the U.S. ability “to step in with the needed necessary means when there are international crises.”
But not all the messages from abroad were warm and fuzzy. The Mirror of London ran a photograph of the Earth as seen from space on its cover, with an arrow pointing to the United Kingdom.
“Congrats on becoming the president... P.S.: We are here,” it said.
“Bush, who’s been abroad only twice — both times to Mexico, is now the most powerful man in the world,” lamented the mass-circulation tabloid.
In Sydney, The Australian newspaper said the protracted race had no winner, only losers.
In a front-page editorial, the Sydney Morning Herald said: “There will be American-style pageantry, and grand speeches about the best democracy in the world. But the myths have gone. The masks are off. The people have seen the underbelly of their politics, and they know.”
From Asia, With Love
Led by China and Japan, Asian nations congratulated Bush and pledged to work with him.
Chinese President Jiang Zemin offered “warm congratulations” to Bush, although the prospect of a Bush presidency has caused concern in Beijing because of his support for arch-rival Taiwan.
“I’m willing to make joint efforts with you during your presidency, on the basis of the Three Joint Communiques, to push the Sino-U.S. relationship to develop steadily and smoothly,” Jiang said in message to Bush, Chinese television reported.