I think Achmed and Mustapha are justifiably suspicious of President Obama and anything he says. I think that you might well find a similar set of suspicions in many if not all Middle Easterners, especially Muslim Middle Easterners, but in many cases Israeli Middle Easterners as well. In the case of the exchange quoted above, it's fairly clear that the reporter wasn't taking the kernal of what his informants were telling him and reporting it accurately to his audience. Ron may well be correct in his analysis of why that was the case; he certainly makes sense to me.
The point is that they didn't appear to feel America or President Obama had been helpful for them in achieving their goals over the past six weeks. My own particular view is that the United States should be on the side of Democracy against oligarchy in those cases where the question comes up. As a private citizen, I can afford to hold that view. I don't know what I might feel I needed to say were I in a position of political power. I certainly like to think the same thing, but in that case I'm not certain I'd have the luxury of representing purely my own interests. I'd have to make a judgement of what the interests of my country were, then I'd have to attempt to support those. This, I suppose, is why I'm not interested in running for office. Also, I don't have a skin like a rhino.
Mubarak was our go-to guy in Egypt. He help serve our interests. He helped maintain stability.
He was also a tyrant in the less appealing modern sense of the word, not in the old fashioned more cuddly Roman sense of the word. Great Powers tend toward the Psychopathic, I'm afraid, in that they think their own best interests are best for the world, and that anything seems justified in their pursuit. In this, President Obama stands in a long line of Presidents who seem to hold the same set of values, Republicans and Democrats alike.
The Israelis want us to remain faithful to our alliance with them. The Muslims are not much different at heart; they want the United States to Show the same level of sympathy and committment to their interests as the Israelis have come to count on in our relationship with them. I don't think that is impossible, though it is surely enormously difficult. The analogy that comes to mind is that of parents of jealous adult kids.
Please pardon the part of the analogy that is by its nature parental, patronizing and somewhat insulting to everybody, including us. Everybody needs everybody else and claims they don't. Nobody trusts anybody else to do the right thing, and everybody thinks that doing something decent first makes them a sucker to be taken advantage of by the other people. Everybody is right. Everybody is wrong.
How much more grown up are we?
I'd have to say that the more we think of ourselves as the grown ups in the bunch, the more out of control we're going to feel and be.
I think that those Muslim fellas have a right to want us to treat them as straightforwardly as we do the Israelis. I think we have a right to figure that our friends aren't going to kill us or each other. I figure the Israelis have a right to feel reasonably safe — as safe as anybody else does. They and their neighbors have worked that out for now. As for me, I'd wish I were a bit safer, but then I'm not living there, am I? And if they want things to feel safer, they all have a pretty good idea of how to lower the tension level, don't they?
In the meantime, perhaps it might be a good idea if we made what America says and does as interest5ing to the Egyptions as it is to the Israelis, by giving them the same reasons to be interested in the relationship. Allowing some actual friendship between the two countries to bloom.