Just a little over a week ago, it seemed as though the entire Western world had united behind U.S. President Barack Obama as he worked toward building an offensive against Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. But as the week unfolded, it turned out that Obama was very much on his own. A sparse few from the Arab world backed his efforts: Qatar, satellite network Al-Jazeera (owned by Qatar) and Saudi Arabia -- that was more or less the list.
The issue in the Arab world -- just as in the Europe Union or the U.S. Congress -- has little to do with Syria and Assad. The U.S. and Obama are the issue. Even chemical gas, deployed by Assad in the war of annihilation against his own countrymen, failed to chip away at the hostility and base hatred the Arab world feels for the United States and the global values it has come to symbolize.
Indeed, the Arab world loves to the hate the U.S., especially because the country has come to symbolize "the other." It has become so convenient to blame the U.S. for these countries' economic backwardness. With its successes, the U.S. symbolizes the failure of most Arab countries to cope with the myriad challenges of the 21st century. And this goes without mentioning the Israel-Arab conflict. The Arab world prefers to forgo salvation as long as it's proffered by the Americans.
What's more, the events of the past few weeks have shown us that, just as there is no international community, just as the European Union has proved its inefficacy in dealing with the atrocities in Syria, there is no Arab world. All that exists is an amalgamation of nations, several of them in advanced stages of decay, gutted by their own problems.
Indeed, the Arab Spring has long gone. Egypt is a prime example. Deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's government supported the Syrian rebels, its partners in the Islamic movement. And then the military generals of Egypt, who are openly sympathetic toward the Syrian regime in its dogged attempts to restore security and stability in Syria, overthrew Morsi's Islamist government.
The young activists in Tahrir Square, who once showed empathy for the rebels in Syria, have replaced such feelings with anger directed against the U.S. And the U.S. was seen as a staunch supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, in the name of democracy, of course, but the Brotherhood was ousted from power in July.
And therefore Obama is all alone, just as his predecessor, George W. Bush, was when he went to war with Iraq in 2003. It's just that Bush was respected and, for the most part, feared. Obama simply "doesn't count."