Friday, June 05, 2009

The Speech of the Century


President Barack Hussein Obama has rocked the world to its very core.

Speaking before a very diverse crowd of 3,000 people yesterday at Cairo University, Barack Obama did the unthinkable. He spoke from the heart and spoke the truth, two things most politicians rarely do. That he did it in a hostile part of the world, among people who hate American and all it stands for, made it all the more remarkable.

A transcription of his complete speech is available
here.

President Obama spoke with his usual polished eloquence, mixing his personal history with the history of the region and the history of the Muslim people.

What was most remarkable was that President Obama DEFENDED the United States and its principles and its policies in the only way possible before the worldwide Muslim audience, he told the truth!

In taking this amazing path, Obama gained credibility and honor. When he said the United States stood for Democracy, peace, respect and honor, the Egyptians in the audience and the millions watching worldwide in every Muslim country believed him.

Voice of America has some remarkable feedback, including some personal stories and reactions from the region:
Obama's Speech to Muslims Well-Received in Egypt

The path forward will be difficult and may not, in the end, yield any positive results. But in one single, honest and honorable speech, Barack Hussein Obama has done more to bring peace to the region that his last three predecessors accomplished, combined.

16 comments:

Lee said...

You seem to have heaped huge expectations on a single speech that had its hits and misses.

In my mind: “This truth transcends nations and peoples, a belief that isn’t new; that isn’t black or white or brown; that isn’t Christian, or Muslim or Jew. It’s a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the heart of billions. It’s a faith in other people, and it’s what brought me here today.”

Was met with stony silence. That was most telling.

the WIZARD, fkap said...

What will be the lasting effects? It's difficult to tell. Yesterday I compared Obama's middle east trip to Nixon's trip to China, but that is unfair. Obama's task is much more difficult, the relationships to hostile. But we must praise Obama for making this magnificient overture.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I thought it was a good speech, too. Not a "pitch-perfect" one as Olbermann claimed but certainly better than a D-minus (Karl Rove's assesment).

Chris said...

I saw little in the transcript that suggested the President has any real idea of the actual problems in the Middle East. His speech was filled with historical inaccuracies and equivocation. He believes in the fiction of the oppressed Palestinians, who in reality are cynically used by the Arab nations who keep them in camps and despise them. While I appreciate his words on Israel's right to exist, his actions speak otherwise. He is pressuring the Israelis to give concessions to their enemies in return for nothing, while he denies them helicopters and threatens to cut off further aid. In the meantime, we're going to give the dysfunctional Palestinian groups more money and accept immigrants from Hamas, while training the security forces of "moderate" Fatah.

Playing hardball with our only reliable ally in the region is par for the course for Obama's foreign policy, which seems to be centered around denigrating all of our traditional allies for the dubious purpose of appearing to treat all nations equally.

Lee said...

Wiz, So this speach did more for peace in the region then President Bush aided King Fahd in keeping Kuwait out of Saddam Hussiens hands? This speach did more then the USA Co-sponsored the Madrid Confrence with Spain and the USS? While it did not confirm peace in the region it had its successes. This one speech did more then the Camp David Summit in 2000, which was a building on the positive steps from the Camp David Accords?

Perhaps you feel President Obama, by standing up and talking, has accomplished more then getting opposing factions at the same table attempting communications towards resolution.

Lee said...

USS should read USSR.

Lee said...

umkay speach should be speech...

MadMike said...

It goes without saying Wizard that I couldn't agree more, although as I mentioned over at my place I am not certain it reached the landmark proportions of Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner," or Reagan's "Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall." Regardless it is a great start given how the world has viewed us for the past 8 years.

Vigilante said...

Wizard, I am not optimistic. I think history's knot in the Middle East can only be loosened with a hatchet. The last eight years just tightened it up even more. That's what folks who voted for Bush (twice) wanted.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

To echo what Chris has said, the Palestinian Authority has been given billions and billions of dollars of foreign aid and they've done literally NOTHING to help the people in those refugee camps. Add to that, the fact that Predident Clinton and Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians (under the miserable auspices of Yasser Arafat) basically everything they wanted, and you really have to wonder sometimes if the Arab side to this conflict actually wants peace at all.

Chris said...

Without a simmering conflict with Israel, the Arab nations would have nothing to distract their disgruntled peoples from the corrupt kleptocracies they inhabit. Egypt is the only country that so far has cried uncle, and that was after they had an entire army group cut off in Sinai, and Israeli tanks within range of Cairo.

There will not be peace in the region until one side is decisively beaten. The Israelis would be better off pounding the sand out of Gaza as an example to anyone who's watching, until Hamas is destroyed or gives up. That might take the starch out of Hezbollah, or they might need the same treatment. In any event, the status quo will continue, despite the involvement of anyone else, including Barack Obama. We'd actually be doing everyone a favor by giving Israel carte blanche to do whatever they thought was necessary for their security, and persuading them to ignore international opprobrium.

MadMike said...

I agree with both Chris and Will on this one. I don't see where the money given to the Palestinian Authority has gone, then again I really haven't spent a lot of time researching the question.

I have often thought that Israel needs to do what they need to do to accomplish the mission once and for all, if there is such a state of affairs.

Lee said...

MM I just had to point this out to you Rush Op-Ed: Unleash Israel and Win Peace

As you just channeled Rush Limbaugh!

Vigilante said...

Yeah, I noticed the same thing. Lee.

This is not a really well-considered paragraph:

The Israelis would be better off pounding the sand out of Gaza as an example to anyone who's watching, until Hamas is destroyed or gives up. That might take the starch out of Hezbollah, or they might need the same treatment. ... We'd actually be doing everyone a favor by giving Israel carte blanche to do whatever they thought was necessary for their security, and persuading them to ignore international opprobrium.

As long as we are giving foreign aid to Israel, we have a degree of ownership in whatever they do. That's been the problem for decades.

MadMike said...

I channeled Rush? Not really. I was just wondering, out loud.... :-)

Chris said...

I have no problem "owning" the chastising of a dysfunctional death cult, which is what the Palestinians are at the moment.

Why should we be ashamed of our support of Israel?