September 14th, 2008

  • sams21

Through the world's eyes

Given the importance of foreign affairs in the presidential election Peter Feuilherade, a media analyst for the BBC, has been tracking media coverage of the election from across the world. According to Feuilherade, Obama has commanded far more media coverage that McCain. 

Feuliherade reports that responses from Middle Eastern media sources to Obama's July trip to the region have been skeptical.  Israeli news sources reportedly expressed more cynicism than enthusiasm for Obama's policies and the Palestinian press interpreted the trip as a, "campaign ploy aimed at pro-Israeli sections of the American public."  Iraqi media also saw the trip as primarily for the benefit of the campaign.  Furthermore, Egypt's most widely-read paper stated that, ""In spite of all their assets and oil and the enormity of the US interests in the Middle East, Arabs do not possess tools of influence on US policy."

While there was no discussion of McCain's image in the eyes of the Middle Eastern press, Feuilherade did report that the president of the Polity Foundation, Vyacheslav Nikinov, speaking to the news agency Interfax said that he would not rule out a worsening of Russia-US relations should McCain be elected.  Conversely, Moskovskiy Komsomolets, a widely read Moscow paper, stated that electing Obama would be a "convincing sign of deep changes in US society which cannot be explained only by the country's dissatisfaction with George Bush's rule." 

I find it interesting that McCain hasn't received as much attention in the international press.  Certainly there must be some reason for this purposeful oversight in regards to McCain, but exactly what it means is unclear. This could be an indication that some countries in the world do not anticipate a marked change in US foreign policy with the election of another Republican president.  The skepticism with which the Middle East analyzed Obama's presence in the region is certainly telling.  While obviously Obama's policies cannot fully appease the opposing interests of opposing governments it seems that previous shortcoming in US foreign policy have left many Middle Eastern countries jaded.  They don't have faith in assurances that come from the US because, as the Egyptian press indicated, there is a pervasive feeling among Arabs that the US will not truly consider their interests because we are only out to serve our own.  Future actions of goodwill and diplomacy will likely be needed to erase the sour taste which past actions have left and, until then, words will likely mean little.

Link to the BBC article: