Despite beginning his term with a boost in Arab opinion of the United States and a well-received reset of U.S./Muslim relations in Cairo in 2009, President Obama has taken a major hit in the region over the last year or so; the U.S. actually polls worse than it did during the last year of George W. Bush’s “crusade” presidency:
When President Bush left office, 9 percent of Egyptians had a favorable attitude towards the United States. After Barack Obama was elected, that number jumped to 30 percent. But today, only 5 percent of Egyptians surveyed said they have a favorable opinion of the United States and its president. Similar figures in Morocco, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates illustrate that the initial optimism in the region has been eclipsed by a widespread sense of disappointment.
Hard to know if this is because of the stubbornness of Israel’s government vis-a-vis settlement construction and making a deal–which even though Obama has pressed it for changes, nonetheless appears to the world, mostly accurately, to have unquestioned U.S. backing–or rather the continued massive American military presence in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now, to a lesser extent, Libya.
Copyright 2011 The National Memo