Foreign Policy Blogs

US Election Watchers, Home and Afar

The folks at PBS’ “Frontline/World,” a national public TV series that focusing on global issues, have been producing material that is highly relevant to this blog's scope. Their “The World is Watching” series investigates global views of the US presidential election.

For example, the site features reporting on the US elections in Afghanistan:

“The elections are a huge story here in Afghanistan,” says Kabul-based journalist Danesh Karokel. “What happens in the U.S. has a direct impact on Afghans. The U.S. affects Afghanistan in so many ways — the U.S. troops we have here, the aid we receive to help fund our development. Every Afghan has an opinion about the November elections.”

Which candidate Afghans would like to win is becoming a major topic of conversation…”

The site also has an interesting report from Iran:

“…As for the presidential election, some didn't think either candidate would change the relationship between Iran and America much. Others were excited about a Barack Obama presidency because he would bring change and open dialog with Iran. Some preferred John McCain because they felt that he is more experienced. If their opinions sound like the two sides of American cable news, it's because they are watching it on illegal satellite dishes, which are nearly ubiquitous.

The most interesting opinions came from unexpected places. A carpet dealer in Tehran's main bazaar told us McCain clearly had the face of a president. And a brilliant young scientist, invited to do medical research at MIT, told us many young Iranians like Obama because his name, when transliterated into Persian, sounds like “U-ba-ma,” which roughly means “he is with us.”

Whatever their political preferences, the Iranians we met were hopeful for a better relationship with America – Republican, Democrat, or otherwise.”

Fromtline/World also has a useful guide to foreign election-watchers on the Web. My favorite is Watching America. It gathers and translates top-notch foreign reporting about the US. Here are two interesting articles: a take on the effects of the financial crisis on the election from Morocco; and a letter to “candidate McCain” from Japan.



Melinda Brouwer

Melinda Brower holds a Masters degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She received her bachelor's degree in Political Science and Spanish at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received a graduate diploma in International Relations from the University of Chile during her tenure as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. She has worked on Capitol Hill, at the State Department, for Foreign Policy magazine and the American Academy of Diplomacy. She presently works for an internationally focused non-profit research organization in Washington, DC.