Roman Mitz (rmitz) wrote,
Roman Mitz
rmitz

Obama and The Middle East

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/01/27/world/AP-ML-Obama-Mideast.html

First off, on the general policy shift of actually talking to people--kudos, that's wonderful, etc. We'll see how it goes, but it can hardly be worse than the previous strategy.

I do have a bit of an issue with one rhetorical flourish here, though.


Obama said the U.S. had made mistakes in the past but ''that 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.''


Let's see. That math works out to 1979-1989. That would be the time of Contra, the time of the Iranian Hostages, the time of the Arab-manipulated oil scare, etc. Admittedly, it got somewhat better at the end of that range. Originally I thought we were talking about 1970-1980, which would have been bleaker, but I'm behind the times. Going with "relatively recently" would have been safer.

(Aside: 20 years ago. Next year that will be 1990. Yikes.)

There was a relatively small window of better times, and it was never all that great. I wouldn't have tried that rhetoric, especially since most Muslims are hyper-historically aware, compared to an average American.

One other thing, look at the difference of quality in the questions in the actual interview, here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/26/obama-al-arabiya-intervie_n_161127.html
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