Even in the Islamic world
, it turns out that Obama's losing it:
CAIRO , Egypt_A year ago Friday, President Barack Obama stood in Cairo and vowed "a new beginning" in a speech about how he'd change U.S. relations with the Muslim world. Egyptian vendors sold T-shirts portraying Obama in King Tut regalia, and Muslims throughout the region thrilled at his middle name: Hussein.
Now, many Muslims in Egypt and the rest of the Middle East say they're dismayed that the promise of the speech has fizzled into U.S. policy-as-usual toward the region: civilian deaths in Afghanistan , an unstable Iraq , no pressure for reforms on Washington -friendly autocrats, no resolution for Guantanamo prisoners and no end in sight for the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Israel's deadly raid in international waters on an aid flotilla en route to break the siege on Gaza - and Obama's tepid response, in comparison to the condemnation of other world leaders - cemented perceptions for many of unconditional U.S. support for Israel . Some Arab commentators and bloggers said Obama no longer deserves his Nobel Peace Prize.
"His speech at Cairo University was wonderful and raised hopes that America was on a real path to changing its policies," said Hassan Nafaa , a political science professor at Cairo University , where Obama spoke. "But Obama's practices afterwards guaranteed that he is weaker than he seemed during his speech."
Gallup surveys conducted between February and April of this year showed a dramatic decline in Arab countries' approval ratings of the U.S. administration. In Egypt , where he delivered the speech, the poll showed that Obama's popularity dropped by 18 percentage points. While some Middle Easterners said it was unfair to judge the president so early on issues that have persisted for decades, others said they definitely expected more in the year since his oratory olive branch to Muslims.
"There were a lot of illusions about Obama because he has African and Muslim roots," said Aya Mahmoud , 22, a student at Cairo University. "Turns out the speech was all just hype."
This is certainly telling something. But if they're let down by him, what do they think of their own "leaders"? Aren't they just as dismaying?
Labels: Afghanistan, Egypt, islam, Israel, United States