One of the frustrations of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars was the fact that our liberation of tens of millions of Muslims from murderous regimes seemed to get us no credit in the Muslim world; on the contrary. As has been widely pointed out, the last five or six major international efforts the U.S. has engaged in have been in large part in defense of Muslims, yet Muslims around the world seemed to hold them against us.
One of the purposes of the Obama administration’s promised “smart diplomacy” was to undo the damage to our relationships with Muslim countries that was supposedly caused by Obama’s predecessors. Presumably our participation in the Libyan campaign was part of this “smart” strategy. The intervention was justified in purely humanitarian terms, with no admixture of self-interest; several Muslim countries are participating in the coalition; the United Nations gave the venture its blessing; and the U.S. has modestly screened its participation behind NATO leadership. Surely this “smart” combination will insulate the U.S. from the usual PR problems and earn the gratitude of Muslims around the world. Right?
Wrong. The AP reports:
Sri Lankan Muslims beat an effigy of U.S. President Barack Obama during a protest rally against the allied forces’ air strike in Libya, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, March 25, 2011.
Note the picture of Qaddafi:
In this one, “Sri Lankan Muslims beat and stamp on an effigy of U.S. President Barack Obama….”
Here, “Sri Lankan Muslims burn an effigy of U.S. President Barack Obama during a protest rally against the allied forces’ air strike in Libya….”
But this is so unfair! Don’t they know that Obama is The One? Haven’t they heard how smart his diplomacy is? And, anyway, if they don’t like the bombing of Libya, why aren’t they burning the French flag or stamping on effigies of Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron? Or going after the U.N.’s Security Council? Somehow this foreign policy stuff is trickier than it seemed during the campaign. Sort of like the economy.
UPDATE: This one is in India:
This one is in the Philippines. No blood for oil!
This is in Turkey. I especially like the poster with the side-by-side photos of George Bush and Barack Obama, both with Hitler mustaches:
This one is in Tanzania:
OK, one more, just so they won’t feel left out. San Francisco!