This is an article I wrote for the on-line periodical American Diplomacy in June 2009. I was wrong in being too cautious (too nice) on the ultimately disastrous effect the Obama policies and attitudes would have on the Middle East. Most of the immediate coverage of the speech was written by his groupies in the main stream media, indicating the mediocre quality of much of the American press coverage of the Middle East. Its ideological orientation continually skewers the news and analysis of the events and trends in the Middle East . The enthusiasm with which much of American Middle East scholarly community greeted the speech also underscores their pedestrian output.
I was also wrong in writing that Obama’s popularity in the Arab world would remain high. I was right that under the Obama administration America’s popularity would sink, but so did Obama’s. In the end words were not enough and his perceived and real weakness, particularly in confronting the tragedy in Syria, was rightly seen as a betrayal of his words. I posted this old article in comparison to the pitch by SecState Mike Pompeo in Cairo recently. To be sure it was widely lambasted by the same types that went gaga over Obama’s speech. One thing for sure …..he did not raise expectations, nor did he take, in the name of the American people, blame for the mess in the Arab world. His speech was noteworthy primarily in that he basically called the promises of Obama empty and refused to implicate the United States and its people for the sins of the Arab leadership or street mobs that alternate in holding the reigns of power
Pompeo speech is at https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/full-text-secretary-of-state-pompeo-s-speech-at-the-american-university-in-cairo-1.6829117
Public Diplomacy or Policy? President Obama’s Pitch to the Muslim World