Patterico's Pontifications

6/3/2009

Obama’s speech to “the Muslim world”: Who cares?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 12:07 pm

[Posted by Karl]

The media and punditocracy are ramping up the hype for Pres. Obama’s allegedly “historic” Speech to the Muslim World in Cairo tomorrow. Christopher Dickey preemptively laments that Obama will not use the occasion to apologize for every grudge Muslims nurse against the evil American empire. Joseph Loconte notes that so far, Obama has not followed through on his campaign rhetoric about his ability to address the failures of contemporary Islam. Paul Wolfowitz hopes Obama will use the Cairo speech to recommit to “the freedom agenda,” but fears he will not. Wolfowitz and Reza Aslan both note that Obama is not even speaking to the “Muslim World” in all of its diversity, but really to Arab (and perhaps Persian) Muslims. Lisa Anderson, provost of the American University in Cairo, suggests Obama’s real audience is domestic. She is probably closest to the truth.

Although the latest Gallup poll shows that U.S. leadership approval ratings are up in a number of Arab nations, the numbers remain dismal and are actually down in Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories. (An earlier Gallup poll showed a plurality thinking that the outcome of the US presidential election would not make a difference to their countries.) Polling in Arab countries by Shilbey Telhami and Zogby International shows that — much like America — Obama is personally popular but deep skepticism remains on policy issues. Considering that the Obama administration plans on keeping large numbers of troops in Iraq, has no viable plan for closing Guantanamo Bay, etc., Obama’s honeymoon with the Arab street — modest as it is — will likely be short-lived.

Furthermore, the oppression that prevails throughout most of the Mideast means that in the short-term, public opinion does not matter as much as the opinion of the oppressors. When Obama finishes speaking to the Muslim World, it is far more likely than not that the Muslim World will still not be speaking to him. The president’s platitudinous piffle will undoubtedly send a thrill up the collective leg of the lapdog press here in America. Elsewhere, it will be remembered about as well as his equally “historic” trip to Turkey last month.

Cross-posted at HotAir, with an Update from Allahpundit:

Update (AP): My thoughts exactly. To believe that half an hour of pap will advance the ball in the Middle East, you’d have to believe that tensions there are based largely on “cultural misunderstandings,” not wholly irreconcilable goals like the right of return. It’s worth doing simply because it’s a costless exercise, but as with anything Obama does, the media hoopla is wildly disproportionate to the actual effect. A productive use of righty bloggers’ time this afternoon will be to seize on the passages inevitably touted by the press as “breakthroughs” and then comb through Bush’s speeches for their analogs, of which there are bound to be many. Exit question: Will The One address the lingering “cultural misunderstanding” about whether the Holocaust happened? It’d be nice to find common ground on that, at least.

–Karl

52 Responses to “Obama’s speech to “the Muslim world”: Who cares?”

  1. I hope Pres. Obama takes the opportunity to remind his hosts that THEY STARTED IT!

    I also hope that he realizes that the only way we are going to make the Muslim world like us is to grow beards and beat our wives.

    furious (a74982)

  2. http://blogs.jta.org/telegraph/article/2009/06/01/1005535/chabad-rabbi-destroy-their-holy-sites-kill

    “I don’t believe in western morality, i.e. don’t kill civilians or children, don’t destroy holy sites, don’t fight during holiday seasons, don’t bomb cemeteries, don’t shoot until they shoot first because it is immoral.
    The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle).
    The first Israeli prime minister who declares that he will follow the Old Testament will finally bring peace to the Middle East. …”

    I know you don’t care. That doesn’t both me much. But that you pretend to know something, that’s what’s absurd.
    If you want to talk about history, maybe you shoudl learn some first.
    And Obama is hobnobbing with monarchs and dictators who sell us oil while we sell them arms.
    http://jta.org/news/article/2009/06/02/1005568/will-pro-israel-groups-miss-ahmadinejad
    More fun. As more than one Israeli “Liberal” has said, Arab democracy is bad for Israel.

    bored again christian (1dd97d)

  3. Good post with which (as usual) I completely agree. Also, via Jake Tapper, note this response to a question for the White House about Obama’s Mideast trip:

    “TAPPER: What do you hope average the man on the street in a Muslim country can take away from speech tomorrow? And for Mr. Rhodes, does the president mention at all his father’s Muslim’s roots in his speech tomorrow?

    DENIS MCDONOUGH, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications: You know I think, I think you’ve heard the president talk about in course of couple days that he wants Arab and Muslim worlds to get to know a little bit more about America, and America to get to know a little bit more about the Arab and Muslim worlds. I think that the take away will be in the best, in the best circumstances an audience that recognizes that we the United States and they have mutual interests in a range of issues – as it extends from extremists who have killed thousands of Muslims, innocent Muslims just as they did thousands of Americans, including that one day in September when all they wanted to do is go to work.”

    There’s more at the link but who do you think the bolded portion of the excerpt refers to? The 19 hijackers didn’t kill “thousands of Muslims” so is this a reference to Saudi Wahabbists, the invasion of Iraq, or what?

    DRJ (180b67)

  4. Sorry for the typos, though.

    bored again christian (1dd97d)

  5. The most historically ignorant President in our life-time, if not ever, is going to solve the World’s most vexing problem that has existed for over 1400 years?
    What utter insanity!
    Get out of the Market, and into foodstuffs, gold, and ammo.

    AD - RtR/OS! (4a0d27)

  6. DRJ:

    However clumsily, McDonough seems to be trying to say that in other parts of the world (i.e., Iraq) muslim extremists have killed many innocent muslims and tries to conflate that with the 19 hijackers who also happened to be extremists and killed thousands of Americans.

    So it’s not that they’re targeting ONLY Americans, you see.

    Dr. K (eca563)

  7. That makes sense, Dr. K, but I still wonder if Obama and the White House are changing their talking points on Muslims.

    DRJ (180b67)

  8. Tom Maguire and Dan Drezner make more points about the underlying pointlessness of this exercise.

    Karl (f07e38)

  9. “America’s Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier ”
    http://www.sup.org/book.cgi?book_id=5446

    merica’s Kingdom debunks the many myths that now surround the United States’s “special relationship” with Saudi Arabia, or what is less reverently known as “the deal”: oil for security. Taking aim at the long-held belief that the Arabian American Oil Company, ARAMCO, made miracles happen in the desert, Robert Vitalis shows that nothing could be further from the truth. What is true is that oil led the U.S. government to follow the company to the kingdom. Eisenhower agreed to train Ibn Sa’ud’s army, Kennedy sent jets to defend the kingdom, and Lyndon Johnson sold it missiles. Oil and ARAMCO quickly became America’s largest single overseas private enterprise.

    Beginning with the establishment of a Jim Crow system in the Dhahran oil camps in the 1930s, the book goes on to examine the period of unrest in the 1950s and 1960s when workers challenged the racial hierarchy of the ARAMCO camps while a small cadre of progressive Saudis challenged the hierarchy of the international oil market. The defeat of these groups led to the consolidation of America’s Kingdom under the House of Fahd, the royal faction that still rules today.

    bored again christian (1dd97d)

  10. Racists

    JD (b64881)

  11. I know you don’t care. That doesn’t both me much. But that you pretend to know something, that’s what’s absurd.
    If you want to talk about history, maybe you shoudl learn some first.

    Weren’t you going to answer some questions on another thread ?

    Maybe you forgot, mr historian.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  12. Jim Crow, Arabia had slavery till 1962, mostly the Zanj from the African continent. Perez Alfonso,a Venezuelan, formed OPEC based on his experience with the Texas Railway Commission, Sheik Yamani eventually took it over, mostly as
    a tool to punish the West for it’s support of Israel, following the dictates of the Wahhabi Ulema. The Saudis funded the PLO in large measure and now have a 50/50 split with Iran over Hamas.
    They are not our friends, even adversaries they are our enemies.

    narciso (4e0dda)

  13. Mike. the link you provided was critical of those things you defend. There’s no reason for me to argue with you when you’re so busy arguing with yourself. I was reminded of one great quote from Maggie T though:
    “There is no such thing as society”
    Such an anti-social conservative the lady was.

    bored again christian (925dae)

  14. Now he’s out there saying the US is one of the largest Muslim countries in the world–does that mean we hve more Muslims than most, or we have more square miles than most, or is he just making ignorant statements again? Where’s that teleprompter when you need it?

    rochf (ae9c58)

  15. At least he did not bow this time.

    JD (878a53)

  16. Very interesting. An American president thrashes the US, contradicts himself regarding US policy, displays unusual ignorance, and throws our allies under the bus while approving the actions of our enemies.

    You get what you elected. Live with it.

    Thomas Jackson (8ffd46)

  17. Very interesting. An American president thrashes the US, contradicts himself regarding US policy, displays unusual ignorance, and throws our allies under the bus while approving the actions of our enemies.

    You get what you elected. Live with it.

    Thomas Jackson (8ffd46)

  18. Very interesting. An American president thrashes the US, contradicts himself regarding US policy, displays unusual ignorance, and throws our allies under the bus while approving the actions of our enemies.

    You get what you elected. Live with it.

    Thomas Jackson (8ffd46)

  19. Now he’s out there saying the US is one of the largest Muslim countries in the world–does that mean we hve more Muslims than most, or we have more square miles than most, or is he just making ignorant statements again? ….
    Comment by rochf — 6/3/2009 @ 1:54 pm

    I think he’s bragging that inch for inch American Muslims have the biggest shwanzes.

    nk (157acd)

  20. Can someone explain to me why Iran (well, the guy with the name I’m not even going to try to spell and the other names I have for him are probably not appropriate to say on this blog) denies the Holocaust with one hand and then says they want to wipe out Israel with the other? If they’re so bent on getting rid of all the Jews, should they not be praising what Hitler did? I never understood this contradiction. And no one’s ever been able to explain it to me.

    wherestherum (d413fd)

  21. wherestherum, that is easy to explain. Without the Holocaust, it is believed in the Arab world that the Jews lose the argument for a moral right to be settled in the Palestinian Mandate lands.

    SPQR (72771e)

  22. Thanks, SPQR. I took a few ME history classes in college and it never occurred to me to ask any of my professors the same question. Your explanation makes sense and correlates with what I learned in those classes.

    So does that mean that in secret the deniers really believed the Holocaust happen and praise it?

    wherestherum (d413fd)

  23. wherestherum, many of the ethnicities in question seem to have no difficulty holding two completely contradictory beliefs at the same time.

    SPQR (72771e)

  24. SPQR – Remember, Ahmadinnerjacket really just needs to be dialogued with. He doesn’t really want to wipe Israel off of the map. And they really just want nuclear for domestic energy production.

    JD (878a53)

  25. Yah, JD, I’ll remember that …

    SPQR (72771e)

  26. “denies the Holocaust with one hand and then says they want to wipe out Israel with the other? ”

    One of the biggest hits on Iranian television in the past few years was a film about the holocaust and Iran. google “Zero Degree Turn.” It’s a bit ideological of course, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/866562.html.
    And there are more jews in Iran than in any other country in the middle east except Israel. 25,000. Jews aren’t allowed in “freindly” “Moderate” Saudi Arabia. But we buy their oil.

    bored again christian (925dae)

  27. How many names has this one been banned under ?

    JD (878a53)

  28. “Without the Holocaust, it is believed in the Arab world that the Jews lose the argument for a moral right to be settled in the Palestinian Mandate lands.”
    I think you mean the “moral right” to be expelled from Europe and in turn expel three quarters of a million people from their homes.

    Funny how you’re all upset about illegal immigrants in California when after all, they were here first, but you defend them for the same reason in the middle east. “The Jews were there first.” But Israel refers to 2000 years ago and for California it’s a couple of hundred.

    But of course Israel is a country. So were you in favor of the Nazi partition of Czechoslovakia too?

    bored again christian (925dae)

  29. bored again christian, no you can’t put words in my mouth. Funny how you try that.

    Have you stopped beating your wife?

    SPQR (72771e)

  30. I predict Obama won’t ask the Palestinians to elect new leaders like Bush did.

    poon (093c46)

  31. bac – …illegal immigrants in California when after all, they were here first

    But they weren’t here first. That would be the indigenous ‘native americans’ – you know, Casino owners. Nobody seems to indicate that California be vacated and the land returned to them – especially not the ‘illegal immigrants’ – so your comparison is incorrect.

    The Jewish people will lose the right to occupy Israel at the same moment they lose the military and strategic capability to defend themselves. Israel’s a problem because it’s organized and competitive. This ‘eternal struggle’ stuff is nothing more than a fund raising business. Trash collection, innovation, education – those are all boring and not so profitable issues for a society whose leadership finds it quite a bit easier and more profitable to rally the troops against a common enemy. We know how ‘leaders’ never want to waste a good crisis. What if the ‘crisis’ never abates?

    Apogee (e2dc9b)

  32. One of the biggest hits on Iranian television in the past few years was a film about the holocaust and Iran. google “Zero Degree Turn.” It’s a bit ideological of course,

    In actuality, the biggest hit by far over the past decade (both in Iran and the ME) was a little jihadi TV specialty called “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” Not only does it implicate the evil Jooos in just about everything bad that’s ever happened to the poor denizens of broader Arabia (and Persia), it also denies their right to exist. You could look it up, but I fear that you’re more interested in listening to the voices in your head.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  33. What should Obama do instead? What are your suggestions to improve ME problems instead of his approach?

    oderfla (22a589)

  34. I think he should talk really nicely to them. He should mention that his father was an agnostic Muslim, so he understands them. He should tell them that TOTUS stands with them.

    JD (45f9ae)

  35. “And there are more jews in Iran than in any other country in the middle east except Israel. 25,000.”

    Yeah, and 60 years ago about 150,000 Jews lived in Iran, so what’s your point?

    That after thousands of years in the area, only a few thousand Jews are left in Persia?

    That any Jew with a brain in their head fled Muslim tyrannies years ago?

    Dave Surls (bb8611)

  36. “What should Obama do instead?”

    Shut up, and kill terrorists.

    Dave Surls (bb8611)

  37. The Israelis long ago figured out the only thing that garners any respect in the Muslim world – it’s called defensive capability, and the will to wipe your enemies off the face of the map if you choose to do so. Bowing and scraping to your lessors only garners contempt and scorn from them in the end – the sooner Obama understands this dynamic, the better.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  38. The only Arabs driven from their homes in the Palestinian Mandate, were those that were told to flee by the minions of the Grand Muftee of Jerusalem (Yasser Arafat’s relative, and an admirerer of Adolf Hitler, who spent most of WW-2 in Berlin).
    Even then, the Paleo’s never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

    AD - RtR/OS! (4a0d27)

  39. The Israelis long ago figured out the only thing that garners any respect in the Muslim world – it’s called defensive capability, and the will to wipe your enemies off the face of the map if you choose to do so. Bowing and scraping to your lessors only garners contempt and scorn from them in the end – the sooner Obama understands this dynamic, the better.

    Unfortunately we do not have a president in office who appears to be willing to learn from history and the experiences of others with firsthand knowledge. I think remaking history in his image is the priority.

    What should Obama do instead?

    How about he go in there and remind them why America is the greatest place in the world and where more people risk life and limb to escape to so they too can live in a freedom they’ve never experienced? Why not extol the virtues of the principles our country was founded upon. Oh yeah, and hold his head up high.

    Dana (aedf1d)

  40. He doesn’t seem to have any problem holding his head high,
    at least while he’s looking down his nose at the “little people”.

    AD - RtR/OS! (4a0d27)

  41. “Oh yeah, and hold his head up high.”

    You have to have some backbone to do that.

    Dave Surls (bb8611)

  42. AD-RtR/OS!, yes, you are right, however, I was suggesting a pride in America….rather than himself.

    Dana (aedf1d)

  43. But of course Israel is a country. So were you in favor of the Nazi partition of Czechoslovakia too?

    Comment by bored again christian

    BAC, your reading comprehension is almost as bad as your history. You do bring up an excellent analogy, though. In 1938, a discontented ethnic group, the Sudetan Germans, helped start a war and lost. They were expelled from Czechoslovakia after the war and that was the last we heard of them.

    In 1948, the Palestinians refused to abide by a UN partition resolution and helped start a war. They lost. They were expelled from the land that they disputed.

    When was the last time you heard of a Sudetan German suicide bomber ? Are they firing rockets into the Czech Republic ?

    I’m afraid you need a remedial history program. I’d be happy to provide a reading list. You could even read my book. It would help get you started.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  44. Karl….i dunno.
    It seems to meh that Obama is a resource we can exploit in this slice of spacetime.
    Look at these pics.
    If Obama can connect with Iranian youth like he has with youth in this country, wouldn’t that be a good thing?

    wheeler's cat (d3f439)

  45. I think Obama should tell the Palestinians to stop whining and to get over it. If the Arabs had seriously wanted peace in the Middle East there already would have been peace in the Middle East. Fuck ‘em.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  46. I think Pres. Obama should loosen up his ME audiences with this classic opener:

    Q: Why aren’t there any Arab characters on Star Trek?
    A: Because it’s set in the future!

    furious (a74982)

  47. “When the president of the United States of America stands before a huge crowd at Cairo University and makes his long-anticipated speech to the Muslim world Thursday, will he say that he’s sorry?”–Dickey

    What a balloonhead this guy is.

    Yeah, pardon us because the Muslim World has been attacking the Christian World, killing our people and swiping our lands for the last 1400 years or so.

    Our bad.

    Dave Surls (bb8611)

  48. If we are in a war with Muslim extremists, then the place to go is the Middle East, just like Reagan (“Mr. Gorbachov, tear down this wall”) and Kennedy (“Ich bein ein Berliner”) went to Berlin during the Cold War. Their speeches were also full of lofty rhetoric, but they showed the world where and what we stood for.

    This isn’t some ‘apology tour’ like some on the right are painting it. The president clearly stated our unbreakable support for Israel. And he clearly rebuked extremist Palestinian groups. But if you want to end the war with terrorists you have to take away the advantages they currently enjoy, one of which is on the Palestinian issue. If you remove that you remove a major excuse they have, as well as stabilizing that region.

    Will Obama’s speech matter? In the long run I think it will. If we’re going to win against these lunatics we’ve got to take away their support in these countries by changing the peoples’ perceptions of what we stand for. We’re not in a war with a country but with clandestine groups that use resentment of us to aid their cause.

    JEA (9231a4)

  49. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uxt9HwfPwPo

    This buds for you.

    Watch

    Duvel (62b020)

  50. Ekshually, Karl….I think it is more like this–

    Teacher: Earth-That-Was could no longer sustain our numbers, we were so many. We found a new solar system, dozens of planets and hundreds of moons. Each one terraformed, a process taking decades, to support human life, to be new Earths. The Central Planets formed the Alliance. Ruled by an interplanetary parliament, the Alliance was a beacon of civilization. The savage outer planets were not so enlightened and refused Alliance control. The war was devastating, but the Alliance’s victory over the Independents ensured a safer universe. And now everyone can enjoy the comfort and enlightenment of our civilization.

    Young River: People don’t like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don’t run, don’t walk. We’re in their homes and in their heads and we haven’t the right. We’re meddlesome.

    wheeler's cat (60a6ff)

  51. And the other thing you don’t get Karl……is that Obama isn’t speaking to these people…..he’s speaking to these people.
    Inshallah he will have just as much rapport with them as with Americans under 3o.
    ;)

    wheeler's cat (60a6ff)

  52. “…If we’re going to win against these lunatics we’ve got to take away their support in these countries by changing the peoples’ perceptions of what we stand for. We’re not in a war with a country but with clandestine groups that use resentment of us to aid their cause.
    Comment by JEA — 6/4/2009 @ 7:16 am

    We did not defeat the Soviet Empire by getting the people to change their perception of the West, we defeated the Soviets by impressing on them that they were in a conflict they couldn’t win. By building a military juggernaught that so overshadowed their’s and by having a simultaneous civilian economy of an unparalleled prosperity that was beyond the comprehension of even the nomenklatura.

    AD - RtR/OS! (1f03ac)


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