America’s Arab Comeback

AMMAN – Without much fanfare, the past few months have seen no anti-American demonstrations and no burning of American flags across the Arab world. Arabs seem increasingly willing to accept – and even applaud – the Obama administration’s policy toward the region.

Of course, Arabs are still unhappy with the United States’ continued bias towards Israel. Its inability to end the 44-year military occupation of Palestinian lands has not gone unnoticed. But many Arabs nowadays prefer to give the US a break. With the exception of the Obama administration’s lack of resolve in denouncing the treatment of protesters by the US-allied regimes in Bahrain and Yemen, America’s position on the Arab revolts has been welcomed.

Arabs, especially young Arabs, who comprise the majority of the region’s population, look up to America for its global power when it upholds democratic morals and values. There is high respect for the concept of rule of, by, and for the people, as well as for the US Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of expression. It is precisely the failure to apply these values in areas such as Palestine or Iraq that has made – and can still make – countless Arabs vehemently anti-American.

President Barack Obama’s election two years ago positively shocked Arabs and empowered Arab democrats, who saw it as proof of America’s true democratic nature. Obama’s Cairo speech, delivered on one of his first foreign trips, promised a new US-Arab beginning, and certainly invigorated Arab democrats.