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Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland | Friday, September 14, 2012

Violence in North Africa weakens the US

Several people have been killed during violent protests at US diplomatic posts in Islamic countries in recent days, among them the US ambassador to Libya. The liberal-conservative daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung sees the events as a shock for the US, since "these four countries are the very states that toppled their leaders during the 'Arab Spring'. The Americans didn't try to prevent these changes, and even facilitated them to varying degrees. However their position in the region wasn't strengthened as a result, as is becoming ever clearer. ... The violent death of an ambassador, a country's highest representative in the host state, has an enormous symbolic impact. The last time the US suffered such a blow was in Afghanistan in 1979, followed by the traumatic hostage crisis in the US embassy in Iran. So it's no coincidence that people are now reminded of the Carter era, a time of foreign policy weakness in the American collective memory. Should Obama be burdened by such an image it would be disastrous for his re-election prospects."

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