- 16/02/2013 - 03:31 AM GMT+01:00
Obama has presided over an America that, in many respects, is now even more unpopular in the Muslim world than it was under George Bush and Dick Cheney.
Obama's most devoted supporters have long hailed his supposedly unique ability to improve America's standing in that part of the world. In his first of what would be many paeans to Obama, Andrew Sullivan wrote back in 2007 that among Obama's countless assets, "first and foremost [is] his face", which would provide "the most effective potential re-branding of the United States since Reagan". Sullivan specifically imagined a "young Pakistani Muslim" seeing Obama as "the new face of America"; instantly, proclaimed Sullivan, "America's soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm". Obama would be "the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology" because it "proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can". Sullivan made clear why this matters so much: "such a re-branding is not trivial - it's central to an effective war strategy