Arab world losing faith in US


U.S. President Barack Obama makes his key Middle East speech at Cairo University on June 4, 2009 in Cairo, Egypt. In his speech, President Obama called for a "new beginning between the United States and Muslims," declaring that "this cycle of suspicion and discord must end."


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On the streets of Tahrir Square earlier this month, there was a palpable sense that the "Arab Spring" had become a simmering summer of resentment over the lack of real change.

That’s what the ongoing street demonstrations are about, according to GlobalPost’s Senior Correspondent Jon Jensen who is staying on the story and as always watching it unfold right off his balcony, which overlooks the street that leads into the square.

Earlier this month, there was also a palpable sense that there was not a great deal of interest in offers of help from America. The visit of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was met with indifference by many of the protesters who carried out the revolution.

The general feeling was that the protesters hardly wanted to be given a helping hand from a country that had done so much to support the corrupt and brutal rule of Hosni Mubarak. This disenchantment with the U.S. is captured in a new poll released Wednesday by the Arab American Institute (AAI.)
The survey of some 4,000 people in the world was commissioned right after President Obama’s Middle East policy speech in May.  


What it reveals in very stark terms is that the Arab world’s view of the U.S. is slipping dramatically, and that much of the cynicism revolves around an impression that the U.S. is meddling in the region and doing too little to push for a breakthrough in the stalled Israeli-Palestinian "peace process."

It's a radically different climate than in 2008, when positive opinion about the U.S. was surging after President Obama gave his historic speech in Cairo. At that time, favorable ratings nearly doubled.

But now they are back as low as they have ever been and in some places Obama is viewed less favorably than President George W. Bush. Most disheartening of all in this poll is a glimpse that the killing of Osama bin Laden only worsened attitudes toward the U.S.