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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What Does Obama Really Mean?

By now everyone has seen snippets of Obama's interview on Al Aribiya tv. It's great that the world is saying that Obama is setting the stage for new Arab-US relations by granting this interview. George W. Bush did grand the same network 6 different interviews during his tenure, but I don't remember the positive spin. Then again, he wasn't as apologetic as Obama either.

Regarding the interview, I've heard the words, but I'm uncertain as to Obama's real message is. I'm confused about this quote:

The U.S. had made mistakes in the past, but the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there's no reason why we can't restore that.

Looking back from 1979 to 1989 - where are our values different? So Obama is in favor of Reagan's policies in the middle east? How so? It's likely that Obama is actually referring to the 1950's-1960's, say 40-60 years ago, before the Israeli war with Egypt. There is no clarification though.

Second, as the entire world realizes, including Muslims, almost every muslim ruled country is backwards in terms of democracy, voting, human rights. There has been a constant struggle between the people and their leaders in countries like Afghanistan (when Taliban ruled), in Egypt, in Iran, and in Saudi Arabia. The most recent US policy under GW Bush was to side with the people, in favor of democracy, and to put pressure on the corrupt leaders of Saudi, Egypt, Libya, among others to promote democracy. The US consistently said that it was Saddam they wanted gone, and would help the people. The fact that women can vote there shows this has happened. Addionally, women have gained the right to vote in Kuwait, and Bush has been pressuring Saudi as well.

Is Obama reversing this, and siding with the corrupt leaders? I don't get it. Great to ask these leaders to unclench their fists, but why should we extend a hand to leaders who are oppressing their own people?

When Obama talks about starting peace talks at the beginning of his administration, and the many mistakes of past US presidents, which US Presidents is he throwing under the bus? Certainly Clinton and GW Bush, but probably others as well. Which ones?

When Obama talks of Al Qaeda and the fact that their losing the war of ideas: Clearly, but no thanks to him. Reason being, Al Qaeda is losing the actual war - that's why they're losing the war of ideas - got devasted during their Jihad in Iraq. Again, no thanks to Obama here.