Thursday, June 04, 2009

YOU KNOW IT'S MOSES, I KNOW IT'S MOSES; BUSINESS IS BUSINESS. Though some critics of Obama's Cairo speech are clearly deranged, there is plenty to criticize if you think of it as a definitive policy statement rather than as a overture to a skeptical audience. All the railing about it being a bunch of kumbaya is beside the point. Of course it was. There wouldn't be any point in coming on like Owen Thursday at Fort Apache. The question remains as to whether there's a point in coming on as conciliatory as Obama did. Time will tell.

I do find it interesting that Right Wing Nut House's Rick Moran, in his surprisingly sober assessment, sees fit to wonder if it comes up to Ted White's definition of a "great speech," as if Obama's might have been expected to shake the ground rather than to clear a path. This presumption is also seen in Obama's sterner critics, who think he was "naive"* and cavil that "he is following George W. Bush and every influential American politician, diplomat, and analyst." In a word, duh. Obama is attempting to relaunch America's relationship with the Muslim world without dismantling it. Such changes as he has made are already well known and relatively modest. His goal, so far as I can see, was to speak for his country before a foreign audience and set the tone for future relations. This is not naive but elementary, though it was promoted as a big deal. The results of his Administration's quieter work of diplomacy in Iraq, Iran, the West Bank, and elsewhere will be far more telling.

* I did enjoy Jihad Watch's comment that "Islamic law is silent about what Muslims must do when naive non-Muslim Islamophilic Presidents offer the [PBUH] greeting to Muslims." Apparently the practice is to take it politely. Again, duh.

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