Barack Obama has not faced the continuing revolutions in the Arab world with any passion. Rather, the US president has often behaved as if these were annoying intrusions into his domestic agenda. Yet change has come, and whether Mr Obama likes it or not this will alter Middle Eastern attitudes toward the United States.
Mr Obama has been lucky - not a bad thing for a politician. The president has avoided taking the lead amid regional convulsions, failing to exploit openings to Washington's advantage. He has not even outlined a strategy defining American interests and aims, beyond the generalities in his speech at the State Department last May. And yet the US administration has almost everywhere managed to fall on its two feet, with limited negative consequences. Those who predicted that the Arab Spring would be a disaster for the US have so far been proven wrong.