Recently, there's been a sharp decline in kidnappings and killings of civilians in Colombia, leaving many citizens thankful for US help. Now the guerrillas are "considered terrorists," says Rosario Rodriguez, a beauty-salon owner in Bogotá, adding, "We are not alone in the struggle. We are supported by the United States."
Here, and elsewhere in Latin America, there's concern that free-trade talks would be derailed under a President Kerry.
The idea of Bush and the Republicans as tough-minded pragmatists resonates in China, too, where two issues dominate: Taiwan and trade. Bush's team has been consistent about Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province that must be reunited with the mainland. Secretary of State Colin Powell earned big points in China recently when he said Taiwan is not a "sovereign" country, hinting it would be reunited with China.
"In the Chinese mind, Taiwan is No. 1," says Sun Zhe, head of American Studies at Shanghai's Fudan University.
And perhaps the issue of trade and economic growth is No. 2. Alex Zhou, a Shanghai financial analyst backs Bush, saying a President Kerry might be "more prickly about human rights issues." About Bush, he says: "I hate the war, but from the business point of view, especially longterm, Bush is better."
Bush as good for business echoes in India, too. The country's intelligentsia adamantly opposes Bush over the Iraq war. But many in the middle class focus on bread-and-butter issues of jobs and trade. Anything that hinders India's rising stature in the cyberworld of computer-software engineering and telecommunications is a bigger long-term threat than an amorphous notion like global terrorism. Thus Kerry's positions on "outsourcing" - and keeping American jobs at home - make him unattractive. "Many Indians are beginning to see IT as a way out ... a panacea to all the ills India faces," says Dipankar Gupta, an anthropologist at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. Thus Bush, who's more of a free-trader than Kerry, appeals.