Fox News and liberal commentators have offered their views as to the success of President Barack Obama, but what do people in other parts of the world think about the American president. A group of German writers in Der Spiegel recently offered their interpretation as to the success of Obama as a world leader. They believe in Obama’s Cairo speech he attained a new level of trust among Arab nations who were seeking an American leader prepared to be even handed in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. In January, 2010, he told a Time reporter, “We overestimated our ability to persuade(both sides) to (negotiate).
Gregor Schmnitz believes Obama has failed to present a consistent message about the Middle East. Initially, he called for an Israel freeze on settlements, including East Jerusalem, but after a few months, he switched and praised Prime Minister Netanyahu for showing “restraint” which meant he only would build some settlements. Last week, Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Jerusalem announcing America’s commitment to Israel’s security only to be greeted by an announcement of 1,600 new houses in East Jerusalem. “Obama’s failure in the Middle East is but one example of his weakness, though a particular drastic and vivid one.”
He set out to negotiate with Iran and that has run into a brick wall, he turned to Afghanistan and decided more troops were necessary. He promised he would “not sacrifice principles for security, this is exactly what his opponents say Obama is doing today.” The German writers claim Obama has lost support of European leaders because “he doesn’t pay much attention to them. The American president doesn’t have a single strong ally among European heads of state.
Spiegel has learned Saudi Arabia seeks to work with Israel in dealing with Iran and would even be willing to allow Israel planes access to their skies in any strike at Iran. Arab regimes have exerted pressure on Palestinians to negotiate with Israel and after accomplishing that goal, Netanyahu sabotaged the entire peace process. The reality is “the Palestinians do not trust him and the Israelis don’t take him seriously.”
The German writers point out that in 1975, then President Ford threatened to cut off aid to Israel and President Bush in the 1980s held back $10 billion unless Israel agreed to participate in the Madrid conference. “Obama, on the other hand, has shied away from setting tough conditions for Israel.”
President Obama, you have lost the trust of the Arab world and among many Europeans, what next?