Photo by Bert Schlauch, licensed under Creative Commons.

Obama and the Arab Spring

Historian Juan Cole

Juan Cole is a professor of history at the University of Michigan, former editor of the International Journal of Middle East Studies and author of numerous articles on the politics, culture, religion and poetry of the Middle East. After September 11, 2001, he started a blog called "Informed Comment" that draws on Arab-language media to present a wide range of analyses. His books include Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East and Engaging the Muslim World.

How would you grade President Obama on Middle East policy?
Because of Obama's policy of getting out of Iraq and his clear respect for the culture and politics of the region, he is still personally popular in the Arab world. The U.S. favorability rating in Egypt, for example, has gone from 2 percent to 40 percent in the past two years. This was before the Arab Spring, so I suspect it is even higher now.

 

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