With resentment against the Bush administration's aggressive policies running high in the Third World, the presidential election in the US was watched with unprecedented trepidation and keenness. It was understood that McCain was likely to move in the footsteps of his predecessor, boosting defence spendings, continuing to keep the US army in Iraq while sending more troops to Afghanistan, providing blind support to Israel's state terrorism, and threatening Syria and Iran. There was also a likelihood of another Republican administration yielding to the pressure of the military industrial complex and keeping the international tensions high through projects like the anti-missile system, thus pushing the world towards another Cold War era. Obama's victory has provided the Third World a sense of relief. It has therefore been hailed all over Asia, Africa and Latin America where many would like him to work for peace, end the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and initiate policies that alleviate poverty. Hopes are being expressed that he would stop supporting the Zionist regime. Others anticipate an end to the policies of pressure and diktat. This is an ideal moment to reach out to the Third World. Now a look at what the some of the Third World leaders expects from the new president. In his letter to Obama, Nelson Mandela wrote: "We note and applaud your commitment to supporting the cause of peace and security around the world. We trust that you will also make it the mission of your presidency to combat the scourge of poverty and disease everywhere." In Latin America some of the strongest critics of President Bush have hailed the victory. There is a feeling that an opportunity has been created to end the tensions of the Bush era. Further, that this could harbinger an era of better relations between Latin America and the US. "It is a message of hope," said Jorge Taiana, Argentina's Foreign Minister, "and an evidence that a cycle in the world is closing, a cycle dominated by a neo-liberal ideology and by a policy of unilateralism and imposition of its positions." Bolivian President Evo Morales called Obama's triumph "historic." "My great desire is that the new government end the blockade of Cuba and withdraw its troops from other countries, and I hope that relations with the United States improve." President Hugo Chavez who had ordered the US ambassador out of Venezuela in September, said on Sunday, "Hopefully with Obama, we will enter a new phase." In Middle East the electoral victory was welcomed both by Fatah and Hamas President Mahmoud Abbas congratulated Obama and urged him to speed up efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. Meanwhile, Hamas urged Obama to learn from the past. "He must learn from the mistakes of the previous administrations, including that of Bush which has destroyed Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine," said Fawzi Barhum, a Hamas spokesman. "We want him to support the Palestinian cause or at least not to be biased towards the Israeli occupation. We have no problem establishing normal relations with the United States to explain our just cause." In Iran the victory was seen as a rejection of the policies of George Bush. "Defeat for the Republicans is the price they pay for Bush's strategic and tactical blunders," the newspaper said. Mohammad Hasan Aboutorabi-Fard, Iran's deputy parliament speaker, also called on Obama to make good on his promises to bring change. "Obama is expected to learn from Bush's failed policies and correct America's wrong policies in the Middle East." Kashmiri Hurriyet leaders, both moderate and extreme hoped Obama would live up to his pre-election statements that he would seek an active American role in resolving the Kashmir dispute. "The encouraging statements of Obama during his campaigning have generated a hope that he will use his good offices to resolve the Kashmir issue," said APHC chief Mirwaiz Umer Farooq. Syed Ali Shah Gilani also urged Obama to use his office for an amicable resolution of the 61-year-old dispute so that "12 million Kashmiri people could live in peace in their own land." In a telephonic interview with a private television channel, the senior Kashmiri leader said that the new American leadership was expected to adopt a realistic approach towards the dispute. Mr Obama has little time. The goodwill is not going to be everlasting. The question is, will he respond positively to the hand of friendship being extended by the Third World. Is he going to realise that appointment of people like Rahm Emmanuel and Sonal Shah, the first representing the Zionist lobby and the second the Hindu communalist network, sends a thoroughly negative message to the Third World? E-mail: azizuddin@nation.com.pk