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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

An MSM Tipping Point On Mideast?

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Color me skeptical, but Walter Russell Mead detects signs that the media is emerging from its defensive crouch around the president and beginning to notice the utter collapse of the Obama foreign policy in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and O's failed spin gambit..


The New York Times and the Washington Post are both thoroughly alarmed by the state of the region after 9/11/12 and the reporters if not the editorial pages have moved on from the “Blame Bush” approach. The latest article by Helene Cooper and Robert Worth in the Times cites some pretty biting criticism about the President’s approach to the Arab Spring from (unnamed) top aides and associates. It even quotes an Arab diplomat who sounds nostalgic for the good old days of W to illustrate a criticism of the President made by an (unnamed) State Department official who said, speaking of the President:

“He’s not good with personal relationships; that’s not what interests him … But in the Middle East, those relationships are essential. The lack of them deprives D.C. of the ability to influence leadership decisions.”

This supposed cold fish is the man, we should remember, who came into office hoping that his personal magnetism and sincerity would heal the breach between the United States and the Muslim world. But here’s the (unnamed) Arab on The One:

Arab officials echo that sentiment, describing Mr. Obama as a cool, cerebral man who discounts the importance of personal chemistry in politics. “You can’t fix these problems by remote control,” said one Arab diplomat with long experience in Washington. “He doesn’t have friends who are world leaders. He doesn’t believe in patting anybody on the back, nicknames.

“You can’t accomplish what you want to accomplish” with such an impersonal style, the diplomat said.

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