Thursday, June 04, 2009

Obama in Cairo

I can't get too excited one way or the other about this outreach attempt. Little is likely to come of it, but he can't help bloviating, it's an instinct, and it might help. A couple of passages jumped out (not many).
One was the recommendation of democracy - a key thing people aspire to is:
Government that is transparent and does not steal from the people.

There is quite a substantial number of citizens of the US (and Canada, for that matter) who would like to feel they had one of those.
And early, in the obligatory section in any of such speeches distortingreality somewhat by blathering about how great Islam was back in the early second millennium, with all those tolerant communities, in a discussion of the cultural and scientific progress, that DID take place, he referred to things like the development of algebra, and medieval medicine, etc., as occurring:
in Muslim communities

A nice sleight of hand, nicely and simultaneously obscuring and recognizing the fact that a ton of that progress was the product of non-Muslims. I wonder how that sentence read in initial drafts of the speech.
We're done now and the talking head, Christiane Amanpour, says this is an outreach primarily to extremist Islam; in that case, I do have an opinion - it will bring about nothing useful.
Maybe all those scholarships he promised to American universities will be popular.
Another CNN talking head, Candy Crowley, observes that the speech lacked a new idea. Indeed. But that has never been a problem before for Obama.


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