LONDON — World leaders sought comfort from the familiar Wednesday after President Obama’s reelection, but with the global political landscape substantially unchanged and crises on hold while the vote unfolded, many vied with new vigor for his attention and favor as he embarks on a second term.
In marked contrast to a euphoric surge four years ago when many hailed Obama’s victory as a herald of renewal, the mood was subdued, reflecting not only the shadings of opinion between the US leader’s friends and foes but also a generally lowered expectation of America’s power overseas.
Obama, one French analyst said, is ‘‘very far from the hopes that inflamed his country four years ago.’’
Even in Kenya, where Obama’s father was raised, the energy surrounding this election was just a shadow of what it had been in 2008, when it seemed like the entire African continent was cheering him on. Many Kenyans have been disappointed that Obama has yet to visit as president, part of a broader feeling on the continent that Africa has not been a priority, certainly not compared with the unfolding nuclear debate in Iran and the civil war in Syria.
Some were quick to list their conflicting requirements, signaling the diplomatic shoals ahead.
Accenting the Positive
Iranian officials hinted that talks were possible between Iran and the United States.
‘‘If it benefits the system, we will negotiate with the USA even in the depths of hell,’’ Mohammad Javad Larijani, one of several brothers with key positions in the ruling elite, told the semiofficial Mehr news agency, saying bilateral talks were ‘‘not taboo.’’
Last month, some Obama administration officials said talks had been agreed to in principle, but that was later denied in Washington and Tehran. Danny Danon, deputy speaker of the Israeli parliament, who is regarded as a staunch ally of US Republicans, evoked ‘‘the existential threat posed to Israel and the West by the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran.’’
‘’Now is the time for President Obama to return to the wise and time-honored policy of ‘zero daylight’ between our respective nations,’’ Danon said.
Danon is a member of the conservative Likud Party led by Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has tense relations with Obama and who was widely perceived in Israel and the United States as having supported the Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.
Before the outcome was known, Chinese analysts had summed up what seemed to be a widespread calculation that the Chinese leadership, itself scheduled to change in two days’ time, favored Obama ‘‘because he’s familiar,’’ said Wu Xinbo, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai. A victory for Romney would have made China ‘‘a little nervous because he might bring new policies.’’
President Hu Jintao of China praised the ‘‘hard work of the Chinese and American sides’’ over Obama’s first term in creating ‘‘positive developments’’ in their relationship.
‘‘With an eye toward the future, China is willing, together with the United States, to continue to make efforts to promote the cooperative partnership between China and the United States so as to achieve new and even greater development, bringing better benefits to the people of the two countries and the people of the world.’’
Some of the favorable responses to Obama reflected campaign blunders by Romney, who drew barbs from both Britons and Spaniards for remarks about their countries.