At Issue: U.S. Budget Deficit
President Barack Obama said Monday he will veto any bill that contains cuts to Medicare that does not also raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

As the date set for the Palestinian UN statehood bid approaches, tensions between the supporters and opponents to the planned request are mounting, and with the U.S publicly opposing the bid, Obama's image in the Muslim world is set to dwindle even more.

Rewind back to 2008 and Obama's elections brought jubilations all around the world, as the first black man, whose father was a Muslim, became President of the United States.

While the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan and the recurrent anti-American and anti-western messages broadcasted by Al-Qaeda aimed at spreading anti-American feelings in the Muslim world, 9/11 also created a rise in anti-Muslim feelings in the U.S. but also throughout Europe.

For the first time, a western head of state did not hesitate to say ""I have Muslim members of my family. I have lived in Muslim countries."

Since his arrival in office however Obama has reiterated the need for Muslims and non-Muslims to live in harmony, insisting Islam is not the enemy. In June 2009, speaking from Egypt, he gave a well-publicised speech in Cairo, attempting to reset relations with the Muslim world and commenting on painful historical times that have shaped the Arab-West relationship.

"We meet at a time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world - tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of co-existence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. ......I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive..."

Within a year however, Obama's popularity throughout the Muslim world had rapidly started to decrease, just as the Arab Spring swept through Egypt and Tunisia.
At the time, only in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation where Obama spent part of his childhood, did a majority have a favourable view of the United States, said a poll by the Pew Research Centre.

According to the poll, Obama's popularity decreased even more as many Muslims disapprove of the way he handled calls for political change in the Arab world, along with other persisting concerns such as a perception that the U.S. acts unilaterally, an opposition to the war on terror, and fears of America as a military threat.

The poll also highlighted that in countries such Lebanon and Pakistan, most people say their own governments cooperate too much with the U.S, which in the case of Pakistan was further emphasised after the U.S. Navy SEAL raid that killed bin laden, while in the United States' key allies of Jordan and Turkey, views of the U.S. had also soured.

With Turkey now openly supporting the Palestinian statehood bid and emerging as a leading regional actor while the Muslim world as a whole supports the Palestinian cause, Obama's image risk being further affected, leading to yet another breakdown of communication, that the President had for so long tried to avoid.

Faithful to one of its closer ally, President Barack Obama is now set to publicly push for the Palestinians to drop a statehood bid when he addresses the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday.

The speech will be followed by separate meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders as he seeks to push both parties back to direct peace talks.

Despite weeks of pressure from the U.S. and Israel, Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas has insisted he is set on going ahead with the bid, insisting it will not prevent peace talks with Israel but will only provide a more levelled plying field as if negotiations would take place on a state to state basis rather that state to-none state actor one.

The problem with the U.S. position is that while it insists the only durable approach should ba based on peace talks, it takes as a basis for negotiation Israel's acceptance of its pre-1967 borders, which Israel has just prior to the UN bid announcement radically refused, saying it would leave the country's borders indefensible.

Seen in this light then, the proposed negotiations have very little chance to work for both the Israeli or Palestinian camps.

While understandably, Obama would love to succeed where Clinton failed and bring peace to the Middle East, his previous supposed support for the Palestinian cause and repeated calls for both camps to be more flexible are now backfiring as pro-Palestinians in and outside the Arab world are angry of the hard-lined position suddenly adopted by the Obama administration.

With the Obama administration pledging to veto any Palestinian statehood bid, Obama's UN speech could prove to be even more damaging to the image of the U.S. in the Arab world and further a breakdown in communication which could prove dangerous as tensions between Turkey and Israel are also on the rise.