Thursday, June 4, 2009

US vs Islam, Obama Delivers the Speech

President Barak Obama delivered his long awaited speech to the Islam world in Egypt today. He was expected to lay out his plan for bringing peace and solving all the problems in the region. Instead of a plan he painted more of a Utopia picture of how he would like to the world to be. Everyone has legitimate grievances and if everyone would just forgive and forget the past his perfect world could emerge.

His speech was long and covered a lot of different areas from different perspectives. If you wanted to be positive you could read in the points on the topics of interest. If you wanted to be negative he provided just as much to attack, especially if you were to read between the lines of what he could have or should have said. His acknowledge of the Islamic world was refreshing for those who generally have a negative attitude towards the United States even if his facts were not always 100% accurate. His claim that Morocco was the first country to recognize the United States and that there are 7 million Muslims in the United States appear to be off base. Some of his claims of Islamic inventions could also be challenged be historians.

The most likely response from the Arab world that he is trying to appease is to ignore the criticism of themselves. They will push Obama to take action on the things the care about like attacking Israel and do nothing to address the improvements that they have been challenged to undertake.

In the Arab world Obama is putting a more palatable face on foreign policy. It may help with some of the more moderate countries. It is the hardliners that are not willing to give an inch (including the Palestinian Authority) that are the big problems. A little bit of sugar coating is not going to overturn an entire ideology bent on harm and destruction. The question is how will he try to force is fantasy onto to other countries.

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