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It's three years since the Cairo speech. Look around. The Islamic world is convulsed with an explosion of anti-Americanism. From Tunisia to Lebanon, American schools, businesses and diplomatic facilities set ablaze. A U.S. ambassador and three others murdered in Benghazi. The black flag of Salafism, of which al-Qaida is a prominent element, raised over our embassies in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Sudan.The administration, staggered and confused, blames it all on a 14-minute trailer for a film no one has seen and may not even exist. What else can it say? Admit that its doctrinal premises were supremely naive and its policies deeply corrosive to American influence? Religious provocations are endless. (Ask Salman Rushdie.) Resentment about the five-century decline of the Islamic world is a constant. What's new — the crucial variable — is the unmistakable sound of a superpower in retreat. Ever since Henry Kissinger flipped Egypt from the Soviet to the American camp in the early 1970s, the U.S. had dominated the region. No longer."It's time," declared Obama to wild applause of his convention, "to do some nation-building right here at home." He'd already announced a strategic pivot from the Middle East to the Pacific. Made possible because "the tide of war is receding."Nonsense. From the massacres in Nigeria to the charnel house that is Syria, violence has, if anything, increased. What is receding is Obama's America.
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