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The best of the world leader congratulations

Most of the congratulations messages sent to Barack Obama from his fellow world leaders this week were pretty perfunctory. (See Angela Merkel, Hu Jintao, or Julia Gillard.) But a few did stand out. Russia’s Vladimir Putin sent a telegram (telegram?) praising Obama for winning "with such a wide margin" and in a comparison that the ...

Peter Macdiarmid- WPA Pool/Getty Images
Peter Macdiarmid- WPA Pool/Getty Images

Most of the congratulations messages sent to Barack Obama from his fellow world leaders this week were pretty perfunctory. (See Angela Merkel, Hu Jintao, or Julia Gillard.) But a few did stand out.

Russia's Vladimir Putin sent a telegram (telegram?) praising Obama for winning "with such a wide margin" and in a comparison that the U.S. president might not welcome, added, “I know not from hearsay how exhaustive and intense the election campaign may be.” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev couldn't resist getting in one last dig at Mitt Romney, saying he was “glad that the president of a very big and very influential country won’t be the man who considers Russia enemy No. 1.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the United States as the "greatest democracy on Earth" and described the U.S.-Israeli relationship as "rock-solid" in a meeting with Ambassador Dan Shapiro, before offering Shapiro a hamburger.

Most of the congratulations messages sent to Barack Obama from his fellow world leaders this week were pretty perfunctory. (See Angela Merkel, Hu Jintao, or Julia Gillard.) But a few did stand out.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin sent a telegram (telegram?) praising Obama for winning "with such a wide margin" and in a comparison that the U.S. president might not welcome, added, “I know not from hearsay how exhaustive and intense the election campaign may be.” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev couldn’t resist getting in one last dig at Mitt Romney, saying he was “glad that the president of a very big and very influential country won’t be the man who considers Russia enemy No. 1.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the United States as the "greatest democracy on Earth" and described the U.S.-Israeli relationship as "rock-solid" in a meeting with Ambassador Dan Shapiro, before offering Shapiro a hamburger.

French President Francois Hollande posted his congratulatory letter to Obama on Twitter, but was then mocked by readers for his poor English grammar after he signed the letter "Friendly, Francois Holland." (This seems a bit harsh.)

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, perhaps hoping his country — where Obama’s initial victory was celebrated as a national holiday — might get a little more attention from the president in the second term, wrote, "Kenya, as always is proud of our association with you. We look forward to the deepening of relations between our two countries during your second term in office." 

In Britain, there seemed to be a battle between the three major parties to claim a bit of the Obama aura. Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron touted the fact that he’s on a first-name basis with the president, writing, "Above all, congratulations to Barack. I’ve enjoyed working with him, I think he’s a very successful US president and I look forward to working with him in the future." Labour Leader Ed Miliband, meanwhile, wrote that Obama’s victory was built on the desire for a "fairer economy." Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, of the Liberal Democrats, used Obama to take a shot at Labour, saying Obama’s reelection proves that voters have "long memories" about who created the financial crisis. 

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at a meeting in Bali, Indonesia, was not in a magnanimous mood, calling the U.S. election a "battleground for capitalists" and mocking the amount of money spent on the campaign.

There’s been no reaction yet from Hugo Chávez or the Castro brothers, though the state-run news website CubaSi probably summed up the Cuban government’s ambivalent attitude with a headline reading, “U.S. elections: the worst one did not win.” 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

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