In 2006, I interviewed the Egyptian academic and human rights activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim, who was jailed by Mubarak from 2000 to 2003. It is just awful that he is now ?lamenting the good days of George Bush.” In August 2009, Saad Eddin was disillusioned. ?Washington under President Obama is conducting old-style foreign policy with Arab tyrants from Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi to Syria’s Bashar Assad. Except for his optimistic rhetoric, Mr. Obama is increasingly perceived by Arabs and Muslims as yet another American president interested in maintaining the status quo.?
By January 2010 he was angry. ?Many of us are lamenting the good days of George Bush. No matter his mistakes he made elsewhere in foreign policy, he was determined and consistent in his democracy promotion agenda. That is not the case with President Obama, unfortunately.?
In March he signed an open letter to the president calling on the United States to “use its considerable economic and diplomatic leverage to put pressure on its allies in the region when they fail to meet basic standards of human rights.” He observed that ?it is critical that the United States be on the right side of history regarding the human, civil, and political rights of the peoples of the Middle East.?
Joshua Kurlantzick of the Council on Foreign Relations thinks Obama has already put the United States on the wrong side of history. ?The age of global human-rights advocacy has collapsed, giving way to an era of realism unseen since the time of Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon.?
Well, what do we think about all this on the democratic left? To put my cards on the table, I think it is a bloody disgrace.