Not that this is how you should necessarily measure things, but you'd never know from last night's foreign policy debate that the United States is actually less popular in the Middle East today than it was in the Bush years. According to the Pew survey, attitudes to the US today in Lebanon are 3 points less positive than in 2008; in Egypt 3 points less, in Jordan 7 points less, and in Pakistan 7 points less.
A supreme goal of the Obama foreign policy was to rebuild US standing in the Middle East. The president gave his first post-inaugural interview to al Arabiyya TV. He traveled to Egypt in 2009 to "seek a new beginning" and try to begin to "eradicate years of mistrust."
And what is there to show for all that effort? As they say in the one Middle Eastern country where America is unreservedly popular: bupkis.