On Thursday's CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone challenged Richard Engel, NBC’s chief foreign correspondent, to name a country where U.S. relations have improved since Barack Obama took office more than 5 years ago. After hemming and hawing, Engel admitted that he was unable to do so.
Ironically, when Obama gave his so-called historic speech in Cairo, Egypt, in 2009, Engel was one of those in the media most impressed:
"A lot of people...across the Islamic world simply had their mouths open when they were listening to this speech. They couldn‘t believe what they were hearing. They have not heard this kind of language from an American president.
There was a lot of flattery involved, many references to history, and extensive use of Islam. All of these are common in the Arabic world. It sounded very much like an Arabic speech that was given by a well-spoken leader in the Arabic world."
And now? Engle is singing a different tune:
"Right now we have a black hole in Syria. Iraq is in a state of collapse. Libya is about to go back into a civil war. And this was the one case where we intervened militarily.
So I think there is [sic] a lot of problems on the horizon in the foreign policy world just because you are off-ramping in Afghanistan."
What a difference five years makes. And this was a president who was going to “regain respect for the U.S.” in the world. A president who was going to make the world “like us” again. A president who was going to undo all of the foreign relations “harm” caused by President George W. Bush.