McClatchy has up on their site a column about a Zogby International poll showing people in the Middle East have a low opinion of the U.S. That isn’t a surprise, and I assume the assumption made in the article title (“Why don’t Arabs love Obama anymore?”) was just an eye-catcher, since McClatchy doesn’t tend to traffic in the kind of innuendo usually attached to such claims. Check out this part though:
Shibley Telhami, a senior fellow at the center-left Brookings Institution, said that the numbers showed that the “Arab Spring” popular uprisings this year haven’t had much of an effect on how Arabs view the U.S. Rather, they continue to view America through the prism of the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
Analysts also said that Obama gave the impression he would change foreign and security policy drastically, while such changes often occur incrementally.
Republicans jumped on the poll and said that Arab countries wanted the George W. Bush administration’s more aggressive foreign policy back. Elliott Abrams, a deputy national security adviser under Bush, said the Obama administration wasn’t supportive enough of freedom in the Middle East and wasn’t with the people when they rose up against dictators in Tunisia and Egypt.
…ok, let’s rewind this. According to the article, there was a spike in favorable opinion of the U.S. by people in these countries shortly after the 9/11 attacks — understandable, as it tends to be difficult to take a dump on other people right after having to bury a bunch of them. Then the Iraq invasion, which Bush wanted, happened and approval cratered. Approval goes back up with presidential-candidate Obama emphasizing how dumb the war in Iraq was…and then goes back down after nothing changes, including involvement in yet another dumb war.
One poll question asked people to name the greatest obstacles to peace in the Middle East. The top two answers were U.S. interference in the Arab world and the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.
If you can read this and say “clearly the problem is Obama the peacenik!”, I only have one question for you: how much crack have you smoked today?