So this is what it feels like. It’s so beautiful that Obama has chosen Al-Arabiya as the venue for the first interview of his presidency (though it is sort of the Fox News of Arab media, in terms of its orientation). And it’s beautiful that he has chosen to use words and language to redefine the way America will deal with terrorism. This is important.
Now, we’ll all be waiting for some changes in policy. Because of course, the way Bush described things was the smallest problem of his “leadership”.
4 thoughts on “A president who’s not an idiot”
While it’s great that Obama’s first interview is on an Arab news station, it is a small, rather pathetic attempt at compensation for his deafening silence over Gaza before being sworn in. And again, like you said, we hold our breath for policy changes. But he is not sending Mitchell to Gaza– not even to observe first hand the destruction that took place there, forget even meeting with Hamas leaders– even just to show that he takes Gazans’ pain and loss seriously.
I wish I were less skeptical, but I am not ready to pat Obama on the back over one interview. Sometimes I think American leaders think Arabs are stuipd and can be easily placated by gestures without real substance and words without action. I hope hope hope that I am proven dead wrong and policy change follows swiftly which shows America respects Palestinians’ right to life and freedoms. But I’m skeptical…
Thawrat Hub, you’re definitely right in pointing out that Obama has not done enough on Gaza. I think this points to the fact that not only is Obama not concerned enough as he should be, but also that American foreign policy is like a 100-ton train that can’t easily change direction. I’m still waiting for him to be in office a bit longer before I judge what he does to this country’s foreign policy. He’s going to have to walk a tight rope between the accepted doctrine in most powerful U.S. political circles (Israel is right until proven otherwise, and even then it’s just a little overzealous at worst) and what the right thing to do is.
That being said — quite aside from the actual content of his policies — this interview just really throws into relief what an idiot George W. Bush was. I mean, from the most cynical of pro-American perspectives, talking to the Arab media in a measured way is such a simple and cheap public diplomacy tool. As you point out, it requires no policy commitment of any kind, so there’s no reason not do it, regardless of your political orientation. If he was really concerned about stopping terrorism, the U.S. President should have been doing these on a daily basis starting September 12, 2001.
One interview is not going to change anything. More than showing how great Obama is, it really just emphasizes how much we were screwed by the monkey that’s been in the Oval Office for the last eight years.
(Admittedly I am a bit intoxicated with the inauguration still, so I have not, perhaps, applied the due critical eye to Obama. But I am skeptical too — and if I stop being skeptical, I hope someone calls me on it!)
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yeah– you’re completely right that this being his first interview does highlight what a weak and idiotic leader GWB was!
and don’t worry, if I see your skepticism running low, I’ll call you out on it. I have plenty to go around these days it seems.