The American news media were caught up in which presidential candidate said what, and when, during protests and violence that cost the lives the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three members of his staff.

The European media weren’t as timid in confronting the important truths about the debacle.

“U.S. President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy is in ruins,” writes Die Welt newspaper in Germany. “Like no president before him, he tried to win over the Arab world. After some initial hesitation, he came out clearly on the side of the democratic revolutions.

“In this context, he must accept the fact that he has snubbed old close allies such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Egyptian military. And now parts of the freed societies are turning against the country which helped bring them into being. Anti-Americanism in the Arab world has even increased to levels greater than in the Bush era. It’s a bitter outcome for Obama.

“Washington has provided the image of a distracted superpower in the process of decline to the societies there. This image of weakness is being exploited by Salafists and al-Qaida, who are active in North Africa from Somalia to Mali.

“For a superpower, it is not enough just to want to be loved. You have to scare the bad guys to keep them in check.”

You won’t see such weighty issues explored in many of the American news media. They’re too busy worrying about how Mitt Romney looks — and how Barack Obama comes out on Election Day.

— The Augusta Chronicle,

Georgia, Sept. 25

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