If ever real leadership was needed among American, European and Arab leaders, it's now.
By Mark LeVine
Whoever is involved and whatever their individual motivations, the reality is that there are so many reasons for huge swaths of the citizenry of these countries to be angry at their own governments and the major Western powers, or to be using this moment of chaos to pursue their own interests, that trying to pin these protests on some fanatical and irrational anti-American fury directed against a movie trailor would seem to be an unsupportable proposition.
What is clear is that because the US, including the present administration, have expressed so little disgust at the reprehensible actions of their local clients in the past, it's very hard for it to be taken seriously now, when trust and good will in American intentions is most needed. Indeed, one could argue that Obama aggravated the history of mistrust by starting his presidency with his famous Cairo speech promising a new beginning to US-Muslim relations, only to continue and even intensify many of the policies that people across the Muslim world have, quite naturally, found most objectionable.
Perhaps the most pernicious blowback to this whole situation would be if an intensification of the protests and more violence against American property and citizens helps the President's Republican opponent to paint him as weak and unwilling to defend America's honour - the mirror image of the extremist Muslim rallying cry against the US...."