Why the Middle East Never Bought Obama’s Politics of Hope

Egyptian Revolutionaries Were Hardly Surprised When America Fumbled the Arab Spring

On the night of Barack Obama’s election in 2008, I stood outside a dormitory at the University of Texas at Austin, debating two Egyptian bloggers about Obama’s win.

About two months ago, I was watching another U.S. election season when I learned that one of those bloggers had been sentenced to two years in prison in Egypt. Ahmed Naje was convicted of offending “public morals” and “spreading licentiousness” after an excerpt from his graphic novel was published in a local newspaper. The novel, which includes sexually explicit content, had already …