Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home2/ikhwan/public_html/admin-cp-control/inc/db.php on line 14

Warning: session_start(): Cannot send session cookie - headers already sent by (output started at /home2/ikhwan/public_html/admin-cp-control/inc/db.php:14) in /home2/ikhwan/public_html/article.php on line 6

Warning: session_start(): Cannot send session cache limiter - headers already sent (output started at /home2/ikhwan/public_html/admin-cp-control/inc/db.php:14) in /home2/ikhwan/public_html/article.php on line 6

Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home2/ikhwan/public_html/admin-cp-control/inc/db.php on line 14
Is President Obama Weak in the Eyes of Arab Leaders? - Ikhwanweb

Ikhwanweb :: The Muslim Brotherhood Official English Website

Wed926 2018

Last update20:52 PM GMT

Back to Homepage
Font Size : 12 point 14 point 16 point 18 point
:: Issues > Democracy
Is President Obama Weak in the Eyes of Arab Leaders?
Is President Obama Weak in the Eyes of Arab Leaders?
Neoconservatives are likely to be wrong on any number of issues. But there is one critique of theirs that, somewhat to my dismay, has struck me as more compelling than I would have originally hoped.
Wednesday, January 12,2011 20:40
by Shadi Hamid Democracy Arsenal

Neoconservatives are likely to be wrong on any number of issues. But there is one critique of theirs that, somewhat to my dismay, has struck me as more compelling than I would have originally hoped. There is an argument to be made that the United States is weaker – and by this, I mean less admired, less respected, and more likely to be perceived as irrelevant – than it was under the Bush administration. It is difficult to establish causality here, since the original cause was President Bush’s failed policies. We are still paying the price for those failures today.

That said, there are some things we do know. According to recent polling, the United States, under Obama, has lower favorability ratings in several Arab countries than it did in the final years of the Bush administration. It was possible, and in some cases fairly easy, to separate Bush from the United States. Arabs seemed to understand that his policies did not necessarily reflect anything true or essential about America’s character. Moreover, those of us who strongly opposed Bush policy told our Arab (or Latin American or European) friends that it was just a matter of time before America regained a sense of prudence.

As I’ve written before, there is little I can now say to my Arab colleagues. We all got what we wished for (even the Muslim Brotherhood was rooting for Obama) – someone who seemed one of the more brilliant, inspiring, and unique American politicians in recent memory. He had a Muslim name, a Muslim family, lived in the Muslim world, and seemed to have an appreciation for the place of grievance in Arab life. What many Arabs have taken away from this is that the problem with U.S. foreign policy is a structural one. Because even with a “good” president, American foreign policy, as they see it, is quite bad. In short, the U.S. is now irredeemable in a way it never would have been under a President McCain. 

Moving on to the neoconservative critique, the argument, as far as I understand it, is that if you go around talking nice, apologizing, and going on about engagement, then this somehow invites bad behavior. Autocrats will take advantage of you. I don’t buy this particular line, but I do think there’s something to be said for Obama’s perceived lack of “toughness” on the international stage. By toughness, I don’t mean projection of power, bluster, or the over-reliance on the American military. I mean more foreign policy “ideology,” the projection of a clear, semi-consistent set of principles and beliefs, and the willingness to consistently articulate them to the international community. And once they're articulated, to stand behind them. 

The week before the recent Egyptian elections, the State Department called for “fair” and “credible” polls. In response, the Egyptian government, traditionally the second largest recipient of US aid, had the gall to stage-manage what was quite possibly the most rigged election in Egyptian history. In the past, as I argue here, Egypt would at least pretend, allowing a semblance of competition. But, this time, the Mubarak regime didn’t even have the decency of playing along with the charade (US pretends it cares about Egyptian democracy. Egypt pretends too). This suggests a certain level of Egyptian disrespect toward the Obama administration.

Issandr El Amrani, in a new policy brief notes, “the unwillingness of Egypt to show even token consideration for U.S. democracy promotion goals.” When the ruling party, presumably a close ally of the US, wins 209 out of 211 seats in the first round, despite our public calls for a “credible” election, it suggests a perception that people can both defy and disrespect the U.S. and get away with it.  As much as I hesitate to say it, that election result would have never happened under Bush, at least in his 2004-5 guise. People hated Bush but at least he was sufficiently frightening to instill a sense of prudence (however brief) among Arab autocrats.

Source  

tags: Obama / Bush / Muslims / Muslim World / U.S. Policy / Engage / Engaging / Arab Leaders / Arab World / / Moderate Muslim Brotherhood / Moderate MB / Obama Administration / Bush Administration / U.S. Policy / American Military / Obama
Posted in Democracy , Obama  
Add Comment Send to Friend Print
Related Articles
The Obama administration’s double standards
Who is the real Barack Obama?
Obama’s last card – will he play it?
The Obama administration’s quiet approach to Arab reform
Obama renews vows to improve ties with Muslim world
Time for Muslims to take a stand against hatred
Muslims need to counter growing Israeli Nazism, West won't do the job for them
The keys to defusing tensions between America and Muslims
The Arab World’s Cultural Challenge
Why is the Arab world frozen in time?
Can Obama erase ‘Bush nostalgia’ in the Middle East?
Banned Under Bush, Muslim Scholar Tariq Ramadan Returns to US
Engaging Religious Communities Abroad: A New Imperative for U.S. Foreign Policy
Strategies for Engaging Political Islam: A Middle East, U.S. and EU 'Trialogue'
With Blair-Bush Lies, Muslims Died
The Middle East and the 'Paradox of Engagement'
US should engage Islamists to push democracy in Arab world, says expert
Engaging the Muslim World
Constructive Criticism for the Muslim World?
MB on Arab Summit: Absence of Some Arab Leaders is Poor Judgment
New Report Affirms the Pivotal Role of Arab Leaders in the Reform Process
Pro-Israel Lobby determines U.S. Policy, says Harvard Study
Most Arab Leaders Survive to See Another Summit
Two scholars say pro-"Israel" lobby has warped U.S. policy
U.S. Policy on Muslim Brotherhood