How’d Obama’s Speech Do In Arab World?

by William Teach | May 20, 2011 7:57 am

We know how it was received in Israel and by Israeli supporters: both are pretty ticked off. Liberals tended to cheer[1] the appearance of Obama supporting the Palestinians, because Liberals tend to support the violent actions of anyone attempting to kill Israeli civilians. But, what of the Arabs? How does “wariness and apathy” grab you[2]?

The words were stirring, the emotions powerful and the intentions seemingly sincere. “Repression will fail . . . tyrants will fall,” President Obama declared solemnly. And America, he said, “cannot hesitate to stand squarely on the side of those who are reaching for their rights.”

But why, wondered those watching the televised speech[3] in the region to which his comments were aimed, couldn’t he have said that before?

Golf. Campaign events. An inability to foment a real world response to America’s stagnant economy and job market. An unwillingness to get involved prior to having dozens of people debate it till the time has passed. Sheer incompetence. Ambivalence.

As the Arab Spring[4] enters its sixth month, and at a time when some of the region’s dictators are dramatically ratcheting up their repression, Obama’s effort to reset the U.S. relationship with a rapidly changing Middle East seemed to fizzle against the reality of America’s fading relevance.

Obama wanted America to be “just another country”, nothing exceptional, and now he has it. So, people tend not to listen. Heck, he’s going to use his upcoming European trip to attempt to reassure them that the US is still relevant[5], as they feel he has pretty much ignored them.

But for many in the region, it was simply too little, too late.

“I don’t think this is going to fix his image. He should have said something from the very beginning, but we’ve been waiting,” said Fares Braizat of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in Qatar.

“Most people have realized that what the U.S. does or does not do is no longer important because people took matters into their own hands and decided their own future,” he said. “So why should people care what he says? America is no longer an issue.”

He blew it, and America’s influence in the world, love us or hate us, when he refused to speak on the Iranian green revolution. He has now made the US virtually irrelevant in world affairs, except as just another nation, like Greece.

It might not have helped that Obama chose to deliver his speech on a Thursday evening, the beginning of the weekend for most of the Arab world, when almost everyone goes out.

So, the smartest man in the world wasted his breath? Shocker. But, the end point seemed to be propping up the Palestinians and knocking down the Israeli’s, which was how he chose to end his long speech, and to do it right before Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu comes for a visit[6]. Remember, Obama has treated Netanyahu with a profound lack of respect before, so, why should he change his stripes now?

Crossed at Right Wing News[7] and Stop The ACLU[8]

  1. tended to cheer:
  2. “wariness and apathy” grab you:
  3. the televised speech:
  4. the Arab Spring:
  5. reassure them that the US is still relevant:
  6. comes for a visit:
  7. Right Wing News:
  8. Stop The ACLU:

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