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Barack Obama's re-election reverberates far beyond US borders — so much so that citizens of some distant nations, like Pakistan and Turkey, say they too should have been able to vote. To give them a voice, GlobalPost interviewed people around the world for their views on the United States and who they hoped would win the election.
'For us, it’s not like any candidate is going to be a good one.'
KARACHI, Pakistan — As part of GlobalPost's project to interview 100 people in 20 locations around the world about the 2012 US election, we asked Pakistanis:
Who do you want to win the 2012 US election?
Will the election affect your country?
How has your view of the US changed since President Obama took office?
What should the next US president do?
The election's impact: "In a sense, yes, but ultimately what I’ve noticed, what I’ve sort of observed over the last 20-30 years, is that regardless of whoever is elected as president of the US, whether it is a Republican candidate or a Democratic candidate, policies don’t change much. They do of course change, but right now I think it is insignificant as far as the overall impact on the Pakistani situation. I honestly feel as there won’t be a significant change in the foreign policies because of course the president does impact it [depending on what side of the spectrum he’s on] but at the of the day, foreign policy generally is the domain of the establishment, and it stays its course, with minor changes here and there."
My view: "My opinion of the US as a government not its people, remains more or less the same, in fact if anything, it is the same, because as I said things don’t change. we thought that bush was probably the worst president that the US had in recent history, but Obama hasn’t done much to change that opinion. To sort of say that he was any better. As far as Pakistan goes, because we an increase in the drone attacks [which are viewed very negatively over here], and an increase in the footprint of US agents in Pakistan [which was eventually reduced, but not because of policy changes]. So no, I don’t think my view has Improved. It remains where it was."
Top priority: "First, they should get out of Afghanistan. Leave this region in peace. Try and build more bridges instead of antagonizing the rest of the world. Live and let live. Which is unfortunately something the US has not been doing for some time."
The election's impact: "Any election in the United States affects Pakistan, just like if any government in Pakistan is reelected it affects the United States. The media, right now, is complaining about the United States as though we are actually Americans and it is our country. And by affect, I mean things like, will they give us a hand in fighting the terrorists? Will they go against India? They need to be on our side, not on India’s. And we need Pakistani students to go to the US, and this will help."
My view: "I don’t think that the US is any better than it used to be. Think of the economy! Think of those property prices! Nothing there is going well. Also, this is what’s Obama is doing. Everyone’s throwing their property away for cheap. Also he said that he was going to pull out from Afghanistan. That hasn’t happened yet. And people there are protesting the budget. I’m just saying what I know from the news. The BBC."
Top priority: "Stop the drone attacks. Who are they killing? Do they even know? Look at Karachi. All these people here, who wouldn’t have been here if they hadn’t been droned. It’s bad. Very bad. Stop the attacks."
The election's impact: "It will affect us the same way it has been affecting us for the last four of five presidents. Their policies, they don’t change from one president to the next, they keep doing the same thing. That’s the problem."
My view: "I can’t confirm this, but I think that there have not been a lot of changes. It’s the same as it used to be. They’re still trying to hurt the Muslims."
Top priority: "Please take care of the Muslims. There isn’t anything more important for anyone to do except for take care of the Muslims. They’re sending the Muslims back in time, and they’re taking away our resources. That’s all I’m seeing."
The election's impact: "I would need to know what he thinks about Pakistan. I don’t really know what they’re thinking, right? I can’t tell if it will really affect us until I know what he’s thinking. All I know now is the drone strikes, and that Clinton was a good man."
My view: "If you look at the US government as a functioning government, I think the US is doing better. But if we’re looking at it as a common Pakistani, it doesn’t seem as though it is any better. The drone attacks, et cetera, have all increased after Obama. This is unacceptable, even if it’s in the name of terrorism. But I think there’s more understanding between our president and their president."
Top priority: "For Pakistan? I think that what they’ve done to Afghanistan, making it such a huge issue, I think is bad. Drone attacks, just stop."
The election's impact: "I don’t actually think so. I think that the president has very little power, and it’s not like his decisions and ideas will really make an impact. That’s what we all thought when Obama was first running, that he would be different, that he would make a change. However, he hasn’t really done anything different for us, even if he was different as far as candidates go."
My view: "I don’t think that the US has done anything remarkably different since Obama came to power. He’s still doing the same things that they were doing. Actually, no, the drone attacks have gotten worse, so I think that is a problem, but other than that the US is still the US."
Top priority: "They really need to think about what they’re doing in Pakistan. Please stop sending money here, please stop interfering. Also the drone attacks, those are really, really bad."