One of the hoped-for legacies of Barack Obama’s presidency was a reconciliation between the US and the Islamic world. This vision has suffered a series of setbacks, mostly due to the administration’s muddled policy decisions in the Middle East and Burma.Just to drive the point home, here’s a chart from a recent Pew survey that shows how Obama’s popularity has dwindled in Egypt:Now, while Egyptians have had cause for pessimism since the Arab Spring, the broader trend is unmistakable: Egyptians were willing to give this new American president a chance in 2009 after he was elected, but have since grown steadily disillusioned.Perhaps more telling than the personal favorability statistic is the following, from the same survey:
Just 16% have a favorable view of the U.S., lower than the 27% registered in 2009 shortly after President Obama took office, and lower than the 22% who expressed a positive opinion of the U.S. in 2008, President George W. Bush’s final year in the White House.
Ouch.The administration’s goal of Muslim outreach was and remains a good idea. Unfortunately, it still remains largely unimplemented beyond the delivery of a few high-minded speeches.