A tale of two Middle East narratives

Ongoing violence speaks to failure of Obama administration's outreach effort to Muslim world

In the wake of anti-U.S. protests last week in the Islamic world and beyond, Thomas Mahnken, a senior research professor of strategic studies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, writes about the underlying tension and what it means for the Obama administration for Foreign Policy's website.

Mahnken writes:

Regardless of its origins, the ongoing violence is stark testimony to the failure of the outreach to the Muslim world that lay at the heart of Obama's Middle East policy.

Obama, a Christian originally of Muslim heritage who lived in Indonesia and attended a predominantly Muslim school as a child, has seen himself as uniquely qualified to use the force of his personality to transform America's relationship with the Islamic world. Speaking in Cairo in June 2009, Obama pledged to repair relations with Muslims. The logic undergirding Obama's policy was that a conciliatory approach would increase America's standing and improve its security.

Such logic appears increasingly open to question.

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