Is anybody taking America seriously in the Middle East?

Barack Obama has behaved in the Middle East exactly like his predecessor, George W. Bush. Veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas is right:

Barack Obama does have a foreign policy. It’s called war.

But wait, pleads Hillary Clinton, we’re trying so damn hard:

Call it Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “Keep Hope Alive” tour.

The secretary of state ventured to the Middle East this weekend to assuage doubts that have arisen over the Obama administration after an initial bout of euphoria that the new president could quickly break the stalemates within the region, and between Islam and the West.

In what aides billed as a sequel to President Obama’s speech in Cairo last June, in which he called for ending the “cycle of suspicion and discord” between the United States and the Muslim world, Clinton on Sunday delivered a lengthy speech before the U.S.-Islamic World Forum here that essentially pleaded for patience even as many of the administration’s initiatives on Middle Eastern peace, and on outreach to Iran, have faltered.

Clinton acknowledged concerns in the region “that the U.S. commitment is insufficient or insincere, that we have not fully embraced the spirit of mutual respect and partnership that the president described, or that we will fail to translate that spirit into the concrete steps needed to achieve real and lasting change in the world.”

But she said such changes “cannot happen overnight or even in a year.”

“It takes patience, persistence and hard work from us all,” Clinton said.

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