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Obama’s “Moral Standing”

- September 17, 2012

The Obama Administration Is In Denial About Declining Popularity Abroad


U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice Denied That America's Popularity Abroad Has Declined Under Obama. ABC's JAKE TAPPER: "Look at this map if you will, there have been protests around the world over the last several days. President Obama pledged to repair America's relationships with the Muslim world. Why does the U.S. seem so impotent and why is the U.S. even less popular today in some of these Muslim and Arab countries than it was four years ago?" AMBASSADOR SUSAN RICE: "Jake, we're not impotent. We're not even less popular to challenge that assessment. I don't know on what basis you make that judgment." TAPPER: "It just seems that the U.S. government is powerless as this maelstrom erupts." RICE: "It's actually the opposite." (ABC's "This Week," 9/16/12)


Obama Promised To Restore America's Moral Standing

Obama Repeatedly Promised To Restore America's Standing In The World. OBAMA: "And we will restore our moral standing in the world. We will once again lead the world not just militarily, but diplomatically, economically." (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks At A Campaign Event, Charleston, SC, 1/10/08)

Obama: "I Truly Believe That The Day I'm Inaugurated Not Only Does The Country Look At Itself Differently, But The World Looks At America Differently." OBAMA: "I truly believe that the day I'm inaugurated not only does the country look at itself differently, but the world looks at America differently. If I'm reaching out to the Muslim world, they understand that I've lived in a Muslim country and I may be a Christian but I also can understand their point of view.…The world will have confidence that I am listening to them, and that our future and our security is tied up with our ability to work with other countries in the world. That will ultimately make us safer." (Sen. Barack Obama, New Hampshire Public Radio , 11/21/07)

Obama Claimed That His Election Had Changed America's Relationship With The World

Obama In 2009: "I Would Like To Think That With My Election…You're Starting To See Some Restoration Of America's Standing In The World." OBAMA: "I would like to think that with my election and the -- the early decisions that we've made, that you're starting to see some restoration of America's standing in the world. And although as you know, I always mistrust polls, international polls seem to indicate that you're seeing people more hopeful about America's leadership." (President Barack Obama, Press Conference At G-20 Summit, London, UK, 4/2/09)

In His 2009 Cairo Speech, Obama Promised A "New Beginning Between The United States And Muslims Around The World." OBAMA: "I've come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition." (President Barack Obama, Remarks On A New Beginning, Cairo, Egypt, 6/4/09)

In 2012, Obama Claimed He Had "Restored Respect For The United States Around The World." OBAMA: "On the international stage we've been able to manage the end of one war and the beginning of a transition of another. We have been on the right side of democracy. We've strengthened our alliances, restored respect for the United States around the world." (President Barack Obama, Remarks At A Campaign Event, New York, NY, 1/19/12)

  • Obama: "One Of The Proudest Things Of My 3 Years In Office Is Helping To Restore A Sense Of Respect For America Around The World." OBAMA: "One of the proudest things of my 3 years in office is helping to restore a sense of respect for America around the world, a belief that we are not just defined by the size of our military, despite the incredible feats of our military and the incredible sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, but we're also defined by our values and our respect for rule of law and our willingness to help countries in need. We've got to preserve that, and we've got to build on that." (President Barack Obama, Remarks At A Fundraiser, Los Angeles, CA, 2/15/12)

But In Reality, International Support For Obama Has Declined Over The Past Four Years, Particularly In The Middle East

Global Opinion Of Obama's International Policies "Has Declined Dramatically Since 2009." "Global opinion of President Barack Obama has declined dramatically since 2009, according to a new survey of the president and his policies in 21 countries. Approval of Obama's international policies has dropped from 78 percent to 63 percent in Europe; from 34 percent to 15 percent in Muslim Countries; from 40 percent to 22 percent in Russia; and from 57 percent to 27 percent in China, reports the Pew Global Attitudes Project." (Tim Mak, "World Poll: Chill On Obama Policies," Politico, 6/13/12)

  • Obama's Popularity Has "Universally Slid" Since His Election. " Obama was most popular just after winning the presidency and those numbers have almost universally slid since. Obama's popularity dropped by double digits in 29 countries between 2010 and 2011, but overall it dropped just two percentage points from a high of 49% in 2009." (Jay Newton-Small, "Obama About As Popular Abroad As He Is At Home," Time's "Swampland", 4/19/12)

66 Percent Of Americans Say That Barack Obama Has Either Made Things "Worse" Or "Not Made Much Difference" With Regards To America's Standing In The World, While Just 33 Percent Say He Has Made Things "Better." (NBC News/Wall Street Journal, 1000A, MoE 3.1%, 5/16-20/12)

In The Palestinian Territories, Pakistan, Syria And Even Europe, Obama's Failure To Fulfill Lofty Promises Has Damaged U.S. Standing And Credibility. "Many add another failure, asking how a president who spoke so movingly about the plight of the Palestinians during his first trip to the Middle East in 2009, and who said he could imagine Palestinian statehood by 2011, seemed to abandon that cause in face of overwhelming opposition. Ask Pakistanis about the signature achievements of the Obama presidency, and they will launch into the subject of civilian casualties from drone strikes. Ask the Syrian opposition, and they will describe an America of double standards that enters wars when they are relatively easy, as in Libya, but ignores carnage when the solutions could put American lives at risk. Even the Europeans, who were so eager to see George Bush return to Texas, and who massed at the Brandenburg Gate to hear candidate Obama in 2008, now grumble that there was more hope than change." (David E. Sanger, Confront And Conceal, 2012, p. xvii-xviii)

  • Obama's Approval In Afghanistan "Plummeted 12 Points To 31%." "In Afghanistan, in the wake of scandals where U.S. soldiers inadvertently burned Korans and one soldier allegedly killed 17 Afghan civilians, Obama's approval rating plummeted 12 points to 31%." (Jay Newton-Small, "Obama About As Popular Abroad As He Is At Home," Time's "Swampland", 4/19/12)
  • "Obama Was Least Popular In The Arab World," With Only 19% Approval In Egypt. "Indeed, Obama was least popular in the Arab world. He had an approval rating of 35% in Morocco, 27% in Tunisia and 19% in Egypt, the lowest three on the African continent (Ghana was the highest with a 92% approval rating)." (Jay Newton-Small, "Obama About As Popular Abroad As He Is At Home," Time's "Swampland", 4/19/12)

Obama's Effort To "Bolster The U.S. Image" In The Middle East "Has Been A Failure." "'Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn't know what they're talking about. That's not the message we get from leaders around the world, all of whom are eager to work with us. That's not how people feel from Tokyo to Berlin; from Cape Town to Rio; where opinions of America are higher than they've been in years.' Obama's self-congratulatory tone aside, the most striking thing about this list is that it does not include any cities in the Islamic world. Obama had made a high-profile speech in Cairo in 2009 designed to bolster the U.S. image; judging by recent polling, his effort has been a failure." (Glenn Kessler, "Fact-Checking The 2012 State Of The Union Speech," The Washington Post's "Fact Checker" , 1/25/12)

  • After Two And A Half Years Under Obama, "The U.S. Is Actually More Unpopular In The Middle East Than It Was In The Last Year Of The Bush Administration ." "And from the beginning of his administration, Obama made reconciliation with the Muslim world one of his highest foreign policy priorities. Given those sentiments, it is troubling in the extreme that, some 2 1/2 years later, the U.S. is actually more unpopular in the Middle East than it was in the last year of the Bush administration." (Editorial, "U.S. Influence In The Middle East Hits New Low Under Obama: View," Bloomberg, 9/20/11)

Despite Recent Protests, The Obama Administration Still Insists The World Is Behind Them

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Said The Protests In The Middle East Were "Obviously" Not In Response To U.S. Policy Or The Administration. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: "We also need to understand that this is a fairly volatile situation. And it is in response not to United States policy, not to, obviously, the administration, not to the American people. It is in response to a video, a film, that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting. That in no way justifies any violent reaction to it, but this is not a case of protest directed at the United States writ large or at U.S. policy. This is in response to a video that is offensive and -- to Muslims." (Jay Carney, White House Press Briefing, Washington, DC, 9/14/12)

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice Claimed Obama Had Made "Substantial Improvements" In Relations With The Muslim World. CNN's CANDY CROWLEY: "Why would one not look at what's going on in the Middle East now and say that the president's outreach to Muslims which began at the beginning of his administration in Cairo and elsewhere has not worked because, yes, this video sparked it, but there is an underlying anti-Americanism that is very evident on the streets so, why would we not look at it and think that this outreach has failed." AMBASSADOR SUSAN RICE: "For the same reason, Candy, when you look back at history and we had the horrible experience of our facilities and our personnel being attack Beirut in 1982. We had the attack on Khobar Towers in the 1990s. We had an attack on our embassy in Yemen in 2008. There have been such attacks. There have been expressions of hostility towards the west." CROWLEY: "It was a reset, was it not? It was supposed to be a reset of U.S.-Muslim relations? RICE: "And indeed, in fact there had been substantial improvements." (CNN's "State Of The Union," 9/16/12)

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