Wasn’t our standing in the world supposed to improve in the Age of Obama? Weren’t we “hated” due to 8 years of oppressing Muslims under the evil, warmongering Bush Regime?
A recent Zogby analysis- Arab Attitudes, 2011- finds that President Obama’s charm offensive Apology Tour, his bowing and bombing campaigns, his “support” for Libyan rebels and non-support for Iranian democracy, distancing and abandonment of traditional allies (Israel & Mubarak), his broken promise to close Gitmo, his perpetuation of Bush-era wars (and in some ways, expansion) in spite of the name-changes and the makeovers, have all resulted in a worsening of America’s standing in the Arab world:
• After improving with the election of Barack Obama in 2008, U.S. favorable ratings across the Arab world have plummeted. In most countries they are lower than at the end of the Bush Administration, and lower than Iran’s favorable ratings (except in Saudi
• The continuing occupation of Palestinian lands and U.S. interference in the Arab world are held to be the greatest obstacles to peace and stability in the Middle East.
• While many Arabs were hopeful that the election of Barack Obama would improve U.S.-Arab relations, that hope has evaporated. Today, President Obama’s favorable ratings across the Arab World are 10% or less.
• Obama’s performance ratings are lowest on the two issues to which he has devoted the most energy: Palestine and engagement with the Muslim world.
• The U.S. role in establishing a no-fly zone over Libya receives a positive rating only in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, but, as an issue, it is the lowest priority.
• The killing of bin Laden only worsened attitudes toward the U.S.
• A plurality says it is too early to tell whether the Arab Spring will have a positive impact on the region. In Egypt, the mood is mixed. Only in the Gulf States are optimism and satisfaction levels high.
Expectations ran high in the Arab world that President Obama might bring about change they could believe in. But like many Americans, they’ve grown disillusioned with this President, bringing approval ratings lower in 2011 than in 2008 (the last year of President Bush’s 2nd term). Anti-Americanism in the Muslim world has not been quelled by this president:
C. Substantial majorities of Arabs in almost every country view both the U.S. and Iran as not “contributing to peace and stability in the Arab World.” The U.S.’ contribution to the region is viewed less positively than Iran in every country except Saudi Arabia.
Lebanon is the only Arab country that sees Iran contributing to peace and stability in the region.
The roles of Turkey and Saudi Arabia are appreciated by strong majorities in every country.
D. Overall, Arabs view the two greatest threats to the region’s peace and stability to be “the continuing occupation of Palestinian lands” and “U.S. interference in the Arab world.” Only in Saudi Arabia does the concern with “Iran’s interference in Arab affairs” rank as a top concern.
President Obama’s foreign policy ranks below that of Erdogen, Sarkozy, Ahmadinejad, and Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.
It is noteworthy that the two issues on which the Administration has invested considerable energy—”the Palestinian issue” and “engagement with the Muslim world”—receive the lowest approval ratings – less than 9% across the board.
Apparently the Israel-Palestinian issue remains a hot-button topic in the Middle East and how it affects U.S. relations with the Muslim world there.
Neither did the killing of Osama bin Laden do anything to improve our favorable ratings in the countries surveyed (which apparently did not include Pakistan….but we already know how most Pakistanis feel about having their sovereignty violated).
A plurality in Egypt say they are worse off now than they were before the Arab Spring but remain optimistic for the future.