Friday, June 05, 2009

Obama Bridges the Gulf

COMMENT: Bridging the Gulf —Saleem H Ali

Let us hope that President Obama can show true leadership in bridging that most consequential Gulf between Arabia and Persia with “courage, rectitude and resolve”, as he has promised to do in his speech

President Obama’s much-awaited speech to the Muslim world has come and gone but the most salient questions about preventing a “clash of civilisations” remain unanswered. The speech was gracious and well-researched, but skilfully skirted the most consequential issues of policy change.

The president, who always likes to play safe on most issues, did not provide any details of how the “dialogue” between America and the Muslim world should proceed. In order to be successful, this dialogue may need to take a Platonic form in which tough arguments on governance can be encouraged at multiple levels.

Obama will have to dispense with political platitudes about two key American friends: Saudi Arabia and Israel. America will need to have more clear and consistent parameters about democracy and human rights in such lands if it is ever to gain any traction with Muslims. The Saudis cannot indefinitely delay democratisation and human rights with ossified cultural excuses nor can the Israelis play the card of democratic supremacy while denying the right of self-determination to several million people under their occupation.

For complete article, click here

Zakaria: Obama speech a success, with one missing piece - CNN
Arab-Muslims now look for Obama to back up his words - Newsday
Obama’s Worthy Gesture - New York Times
The value of words - Rafia Zakariya, altmuslim

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