Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Obama gains a hearing

Posted by Charles II on June 4, 2009

Media reaction in the US to Obama’s speech in Cairo has been mostly ridiculous, FOX Noise most notably. One of the rare sensible voices, Zbigniew Brzezinski (on Olbermann) thought the speech was very good. Daniel Levy provides some important analysis (“The immediate effect though is to buy America space and time. “).

Hurriyet (Turkey) says:

’I haven’t seen a deep-rooted change in his address,’ says one diplomat.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s long-awaited address to the Muslim world yesterday was deemed a new beginning for U.S. relations, but analysts criticized Obama’s emphasis on women’s rights and democracy, which are problems not limited to the Islamic world.

Gideon Levy says that if Obama wants to, he can end the Israeli occupation of Palestine in weeks. That’s probably wildly optimistic, since all of the settlements are illegal, but perhaps he could get enough done to convince the Palestinians that the US is not unremittingly hostile to their well-being.

Dawn (Pakistan):

Mr Obama’s speech contained no new policy proposals on the Middle East. He said American ties with Israel were unbreakable, yet issued a firm, even-handed call to the Jewish state and Palestinians alike to live up to their international obligations.

In a gesture to the Muslim world, Mr Obama conceded at the beginning of his remarks that tension ‘has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were often treated as proxies…

This is just a small sampling, a sampling drawn from fundamentally pro-Western sources, but my read is that it’s accurate. People liked what they heard, but they have been fooled too many times. They want specifics, and especially, they want action.

My guess is that Obama will have a lot of trouble delivering the goods, particularly a fundamental change in direction in settlements, but also convincing the Arab/Muslim world that we are actually leaving Iraq and that we are not just interested in the Middle East for its oil.

I am very glad, though, that it was Obama and not McCain (or Palin) giving that speech.

One Response to “Obama gains a hearing”

  1. A Palestinian professor posting at Daily Kos thinks it’s a good start — a start only, but more than any other American president has done. He also agrees that it seems to have forced a toning down of rhetoric among those parties that want to be taken seriously. Whether this lasts is doubtful, but it’s nice to see.

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