America Votes as the World Watches

  • 4 November 2008

All indicators show that US presidential elections taking place today have managed to grab unprecedented global attention. In political, media and public circles around the world, these elections are being keenly followed with great anticipation and interest. People from different countries know more about the political orientation, views and outlook, even the personal lives of the US presidential candidates than that of their own national leaders and presidents. Again, millions of people around the world these days are more aware of the US political system than the political structure and processes of their own respective countries.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that most of the populace of our contracting global village is closely following all the developments of the current US presidential elections and living the event by the minute. This great international interest has been generated not only because the US commands the biggest and mightiest media juggernaut in the world and is the major producer of programs for the mass media that are broadcast around the world in different languages, but also because the future of the entire world is in some way inextricably linked to US affairs, which makes it interested in knowing about the new American President due to the importance of the United States and its leading position in the international system. In other words, international interest in US presidential elections is similar to its size and its strategic importance in the international arena. The current US elections are described as being the most competitive due to a variety of considerations, including the personalities of the candidates, the outbreak of the "financial crisis" both from within the US and at the international level and the size of the challenge that could jeopardize security and stability in many regions around the world. Therefore, all indications make today’s elections an extraordinary event in the history of the United States and the entire world.

Today, Americans will choose a new president who would inherit huge challenges. Some Western political analysts believe that the new occupant of the White House will take over a “new America” that is in the grip of many economic, social and political challenges produced by the “financial crisis” both at the US and international US. The “financial crisis” has totally dominated the US electoral scene, and has overtaken many of the conventional campaign issues that have remained a matter of debate and squabbles between candidates. During this year’s election campaign, the world did not hear much about the conventional issues, especially those listed on the agenda of US foreign polices. Most of the candidates’ efforts were fully directed and concentrated on rescuing the US economy from depression and rearranging the US priorities.

The question that has been asked for months in the media, in academia, research centers and official establishments around the world over the possibility of achieving the American dream by electing the first Afro-American president, which seemed next to impossible just a few years ago, would be answered in a few hours. So would Barack Obama, who is leading in the latest opinion polls and considers his victory to “change the face of the United States”, emerge as the winner, or would John McCain be able to restore the balance by wining the elections in the final hours and lead the Republicans to a third presidential period? This question is on the minds of many people in the world today, and Americans will have to answer it themselves.