Monday, July 18, 2011

US's Nadir with the Arab World - and W Off the Hook

In a recent essay at Foreign Policy (and reposted at Huffington Post), James Zogby reports on his poll indicating that US relations with the Arab world have reached a low point.  The hopes that Barack Obama's 2009 speech in Cairo inspired were dashed in the months that followed - something that Obama will indeed have to answer for as historians assess his legacy years from now.  But Zogby, to his credit, also reminds us that Obama inherited a huge mess, courtesy of his predecessor -

on Inauguration Day Barack Obama did not receive a magic wand. Instead, he was handed the shovel that George W. Bush had been using to dig deep holes all over the Middle East. Getting out of those holes has been harder than he imagined. In addition to confronting the worst domestic economic crisis in generations, the President had to face down two failed wars, an incorrigible and manipulative Israeli leader, a divided and dysfunctional Palestinian polity, and a wary but hopeful (maybe too hopeful) world that expected him to deliver on promised change. If that weren't enough, the President was confronted from day one by a deeply partisan Washington, in which a unified Republican opposition behaved as if they wanted nothing more than to see him fail.

Mr. Bush, of course, now dwells comfortably, in relative obscurity, among like-minded people in Texas, where he can take in Texas Rangers baseball games from his box seats, luxuriating inside the bubble that is the Lone Star State, where he can be buffered from the effects of the multiple debacles into which his leadership thrust this country.

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