Obama began his presidency with a rousing and incredibly well-received speech in Cairo , aiming to win over the "hearts and minds"--interestingly a military coinage born during Britain's colonization of Aden--of the world's hundreds and millions of Muslims.
"I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition.” He came and saw, but did he conquer?
Cracks showed at the home of Obama's new dawn with majoity Muslim countries when Hilary Clinton got the tomato treatment in Cairo: vegetables and shoes were flung at the US Secretary of State’s motorcade during her first visit to Egypt since the election of Islamist President Morsi. It seemed people could not forget how friendly the US had been with Mubarak. Now for one thing, the Arab Spring presents the Americans with a different kettle of fish than their safe and comfortable 'brothers' in Arabia, Mubarak and Gaddafi. Today the US supreme power status looks once again under threat - and this time it's empowered (and Muslim) Arabs that 'can do'.
As anti-American riots burnt from Benghazi to Kabul , Obama's optimism looks distinctly misplaced.
Here, we trace the relationship since the Cairo speech that captured the world's imagination and set out the stall for the fresh-faced newly inaugurated President to make friends with Muslims, up until the anti-American riots of September 11, 2012.
The attacks seem to have been timed for the 9/11 anniversary. Obama after all successfully executed the capture and killing of notorious September Elevener Osama Bin Laden.
The anti-American grievance Obama lamented in 2008-2009  has not abated and if anything the way that some Muslims responded to a disputedly 'American' cheap film comes as a repudiation of the hopes expressed in Obama’s can-do speech in Cairo, many 'springs' ago. Indeed, Palestine, which Obama only gleaned during his address to a Cairene audience in 2008, was a major focus of the interview which Egypt's first democratically elected President, Mohammed Morsi, granted to the New York Times.
What do you think? Can you feel a palpable difference in the relationship between the majority Muslim lands and the United States or is just the same continuum since 9/11 or indeed since Arab-Israel divides.