"We were very hopeful at the time Obama was elected. But nothing happened."

Even the “Arab Spring,” some complain, showcased U.S. hypocrisy: Washington withdrew support from autocratic allies like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak only when it became clear they were on the way out while still supporting authoritarian partners in states such as Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

The failure to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba, where suspected foreign terrorists are held, despite Obama’s promises both before and after his election, has added to the disillusionment.

“We were very hopeful at the time Obama was elected,” said Abdel Rahman Mansour, an Egyptian political activist whose Facebook postings helped drive the revolution that ousted Mubarak in February last year. “But nothing happened. Obama didn’t deliver change but diplomatic rhetoric.”…

Karl Lemberg, one of thousands who thronged a Berlin park in July 2008 for a pre-election address by Obama, says he believed at the time he was seeing a seismic shift in relations between the United States and the rest of the world.

Four years later, now married to an American woman and studying in Washington, he says he has trimmed his expectations, particularly after learning how Congress limits the freedom of any president. “I have a much more realistic view of the U.S. now,” he said.