May 18th, 2011
04:48 PM ET

Obama's do-over on the Middle East

By CNN Senior State Department Producer Elise Labott:

WASHINGTON (CNN) - In many ways, the promises President Obama made in his 2009 speech to the Arab and Muslim world were doomed from the start. Obama might have sounded like an idealist, but he was thinking like a realist.

The White House billed the Cairo speech as "A New Beginning," and the president made tantalizing promises not only to show progress in solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but on encouraging democratic reform, and engaging authoritarian leaders hostile to the United States.

And even with Obama's recently announced sanctions against Syria and Iran, it still may be too little to late.

From the start it was always unlikely America was going to secure deals with countries like Iran and Syria by promising to help overthrow their leaders.

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Topics: Middle East • President Obama • The News

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