This news is not going over well at the White House. After spending the entire 2008 presidential campaign blasting George Bush for making us so unpopular around the world - especially with Arabs - it turns out that Obama is even less popular nearly 3 years in to his presidency.
Today's eye-opening Zogby poll for the Arab American Institute Foundation should be a wake-up call to the White House on its failing foreign policy. After two and a half years of bashing Israel, appeasing rogue regimes such as Iran and Syria, and promising a new era of relations with the Muslim world, Washington is now less popular in major Arab countries than it was when George W. Bush was in the White House.
The poll surveys Arab opinion in six countries: Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, and reveals that "Arabs see the Obama Administration's handling of most Middle East policy issues as having made no contribution to improving US-Arab relations. Only on the issue of the "no-fly zone over Libya" do a majority of Saudis and plurality of Lebanese see a positive contribution."
According to the report's author, the Democrat adviser James Zogby:
After improving with the election of Barack Obama in 2008, U.S. favorable ratings across the Arab world have plummeted. In most countries they are lower than at the end of the Bush Administration, and lower than Iran's favorable ratings (except in Saudi Arabia).
... While many Arabs were hopeful that the election of Barack Obama would improve U.S.-Arab relations, that hope has evaporated. Today, President Obama's favorable ratings across the Arab World are 10% or less. Obama's performance ratings are lowest on the two issues to which he has devoted the most energy: Palestine and engagement with the Muslim world.
Wishing the world was a certain way rather than accepting reality and acting accordingly is not just dangerous and naive, it is also the mark of a stupid man. For the Arab world, nothing - repeat, nothing - the US can ever do short of helping them wipe Israel off the map will assuage their feelings of resentment and hate.
What benefits would have accrued to the US even if Obama had been successful in his "outreach?" No doubt liberals would have patted Obama on the back and congratulated him, and the press would have been agog. But as far as changing the reality that the Arab world is run by a bunch of thugs and autocrats, hated by their own people and backed by the US, you may as well try and stop the tides from rolling in.