Friday, February 23, 2007

 

Extra, Extra: We're not popular with some Arabs

Better late than never; from David Ignatius’s Op-Ed on February 21:

“The polling was done last year by Zogby International in six countries that are usually regarded as pro-American: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“…Asked which foreign leader they disliked most, 38 percent named George Bush; Ariel Sharon was a distant second at 11 percent; and Ehud Olmert was third with 7 percent.”
Going Nowhere Fast

First of all, these countries are usually considered pro-American only when it can help make an anti-Bush point…like here. I suppose on some level the opinions of that populace can be of some significance to us. But when a man in a coma garners more dislike than the current Israeli leader; that really can’t say too much for the attention span of those surveyed. And what’s so significant about that 38% number? Poll that same question in the US Congress and the Democrats would probably ensure the President was #1 by an even wider margin.

According to Mr. Ignatius “America must change its Iraq policy, soon” and “broker a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.” Tellingly, he doesn’t think we should quickly pull out – apparently few Arabs want that. But we should be “negotiating with the Iraqis on a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops.”

That can mean one of two things: (a) we’re still there against the Iraqi’s will and don’t really care what they think about that or (b) we’re still there at the request of the Iraqi’s. If it’s the former – then actually a quick pullout makes sense. If we’re there against their government’s will then we truly are an occupying force. But if it’s the latter then what other countries’ wishes are really relevant?

And of course there is the de rigueur call to be “talking with Iraq's neighbors.”

But not to be all negative; his suggestion about brokering “a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute” is just the kind of innovative thinking we need for our Government. Perhaps some input from Bill Clinton would be of some help in this matter. I think he has some experience from a similar matter some 8 years ago.

Comments:
Blast, you beat me to the punch!
I'll have something to add to this, hopefully over the weekend. How do you think the Arab world viewed us in 1998 under the enlightened rule of Bill Clinton?
(Yes I know the answer.)
 
I am shattered. This makes me feel worse than the time in high school when I realized I wasn't going to receive a single "Senior Most" vote... not Most Popular, nor Most Likely to Succeed, nor Most Congenial. There must have been Arabs in my high school.
 
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