On the home page of the French consulate's website there was a link to this letter from Nicolas Sarkozy (Pres. of France) to President-elect Obama. I realize not many of you are as interested in Franco-American relations as I am, but I'm posting it anyway to show what seems to be a good example of how this election has been perceived by the rest of the world.
Letter of congratulations from President Nicolas Sarkozy to President-elect Barack Obama :
Mr. President-elect, Dear Barack,
The American people have just chosen you to preside over their destiny for the next four years.
Please accept my warmest congratulations, both personally and on behalf of the French people as a whole. Your stunning victory rewards a tireless commitment to serving the American people. It is also the crowning achievement of an exceptional campaign whose brilliance and high tone demonstrated the vitality of American democracy to the entire world, while keeping them spellbound.
In choosing you, the American people have chosen the path of change, openness and optimism. At a time when the world is in torment and doubt, the American people—true to the values that have always been at the very core of America’s identity—strongly expressed their faith in progress and in the future.
This message from the American people resonates well beyond your borders. At a time when we must face enormous challenges together, your election raises immense hope in France, Europe and beyond: the hope of an open America, characterized by solidarity and strength, that will once again lead the way, with its partners, through the power of its example and the adherence to its principles.
France and Europe, which have always been bound to the United States through their ties of history, values and friendship, will thus be reenergized to work with America to preserve peace and prosperity in the world. Rest assured that you may count on France and on my personal support.
Please accept, Mr. President-elect, the expression of my highest regards.
[Handwritten:] and my warmest wishes.
[Signature] Nicolas Sarkozy
His Excellency Mr. Barack H. Obama President-elect of the United States of America
I read several blogs of American expats in France, and every one of them mentioned how much the French took interest in this year's election (to the point of being very unusual). Everyone over there wanted Obama to win, and a couple of these bloggers mentioned that they noticed a distinct improvement in the way their more casual acquaintances treated them immediately following the election (not that they were super rude before, but after the election they warmed up a bit).
One of my coworkers also mentioned to me how much easier my life in France will be because the election went the way it did.
And as a side note...
I have to say, I didn't vote for Obama (I wasn't really happy with either Obama or McCain, truth be told), but I've been very impressed with him so far. I hope he continues to be frank and forthcoming with the American people and that he follows through with his ideal of bringing Republicans and Democrats together with open minds focused on progress and what is best for the American people. I think that's an ideal that most presidents would say they wanted, so here's hoping Obama can get the right support to make it a reality.