"Obama, the US and the Muslim world: the animosity deepens
Another new poll, this one of Pakistan, shows a central promise of Obama
for improving US security is an utter failure"
by Glenn Greenwald (15 February 2013, 'The Guardian'
When Barack Obama was first elected US President, some (naive) liberal European
acquaintances of mine (wrongly) assumed that he must be quite progressive
in foreign as well as in domestic policies. They expected President Obama to
reverse the rather popular longstanding US policies of imperialism and miltarism.
On the contrary, I said, I noted that Barack Obama had already made a successful
political career out of avoiding controversial decisions and appearing to be nearly
all things to all people. I suspected that Obama was an unprincipled opportunist
at heart, whom I did not trust, whose primary interest was advancing his power.
While I thought Obama would be a centrist (very inclined toward compromise
despite his demonization by right-wing Americans) in a US domestic political
context, I expected Obama to continue US policies of imperialism and militarism.
I note that Barack Obama's now proud to receive Israel's highest civilian award.
Given that US President Barack Obama's father was an African Muslim, many
Americans (as well as some Europeans) have expected or at least hoped that
Obama could 'rebrand' the United States, *without having to change US policies
significantly (including the practically unconditional support of Israel)*, in the
Islamic world as sympathetic, or at least, impartial toward the interests of
Muslim peoples, even those in conflicts against the United States or Israel.
These Americans expected or at least hoped that Muslims would embrace the
symbolism of a US President who had a Muslim father ahead of the substance
of his imperialistic, militaristic policies. But most Muslims, uniike many liberal
Europeans, have not been dazzled by Barack Obama's pop celebrity status.
In fact, Barack Obama has much expanded George W Bush's practice of drone
strikes, killing many more (mostly Muslim) civilians as 'collateral damage'.
And that's a major reason why Muslims tend to perceive the United States today
even more unfavourably and why many people (including non-Muslims) have
come to perceive Barack Obama as an unindicted war criminal.
"Whenever I write about how the US is so deeply unpopular in the Muslim world
(and getting more unpopular), it invariably prompts tough-talking, swaggering,
pseudo-warriors who dismiss the concern as irrelevant: who cares what They
think of Us? ... it is only the complete lack of empathy for other people's
perspectives that can explain this failure to make that connection."
Yes, I know that US drone strikes have strong popular support among Americans.
I also know there are some 'tough-talking, swaggering, pseudo-warriors' who
write in this forum. I have noticed there's ample racism and bigotry in this forum
against many non-Western peoples, not only Muslims. So I expect that many of
the writers in this forum have a "complete lack of empathy for other people's
perspectives" as long as those other people are perceived as non-Westerners.