Thursday, June 04, 2009

Obama's attitude towards Muslims is 100X better than Bush's

Here is something that can be expected of Obama, that he begin to attempt to undo some of the worst deeds of Bush Administration. I wish Obama luck on this. To undo such thing can be 10X harder then doing it. He moves in the right direction on this aspect, and in this policy I am glad to give him my support.

I am of the view the moron Bush did a very deep damage in this aspect, it is a very long term burden to any US president and diplomats after Bush Jr era. Feud and hatred is not easy to fade and wash-out. A partial success in this aspect would be considered as good.

While Obama as Commander In Chief is still fighting on going wars in Afghanistan & Iraq, his olive brunch will be seen as a false front or hypocrisy or lack sincerity at the very least by the Muslims & independent observers. I see this as a diplomatic strategy. He is able to ease some racial and religious tension within the USA by this move even if the effects in the international level is minimum. :-)

Yahoo News URL

Analysis: Obama offers unclenched fist to Muslims

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses an audience at the Cairo University in
AP – U.S. President Barack Obama addresses an audience at the Cairo University in Cairo, Egypt Thursday, June …

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama offered the world the audacity to hope for peace in the Middle East and a better understanding between the United States and Muslims. Still, a president known for his soaring oratory admitted his words alone would not change a thing.

"No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust," he said.

A vast array of knotty issues cloud American relations with the Muslim world, but none rankles like U.S. ties to Israel and massive support for the Jewish state in the heart of the Arab Middle East.

In a sharp break with U.S. policy, Obama approached his historic Cairo speech by opening a public rift last month with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, publicly demanding that he stop building settlements on the West Bank. The newly elected Israeli leader has refused, leaving him openly on the outs with Washington and in a position that could shorten his tenure at the top of the Jewish state's government.

Obama said the U.S.-Israeli bond was "well-known" and "unbreakable," but that Washington "does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements."

Obama's approach was sweeping and evenhanded throughout the speech.

In the face of likely criticism at home, the deeply pragmatic American president, a black man whose father and grandfather were Muslim, owned up to serious American mistakes in relations with followers of the Prophet Muhammad. But he warned, recalling the terrorist attacks in the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001: "America can never tolerate violence by extremists."

Key to cutting through the Middle East thicket and bettering U.S.-Muslim relations, Obama said, was construction of a durable peace among Arabs and Israelis, a willingness on all sides to make difficult and politically dangerous sacrifices to reach a goal that has eluded the world for six decades.

Speaking from the lectern in an ornate hall at Cairo University in a speech also sponsored by al-Azhar, one of the oldest centers of Islamic learning, Obama issued an ambitious seven-point manifesto for improving U.S. ties with the Islamic world and its estimated 1.5 billion Muslims.

While the majority of the world's Muslims live in Asia, the growing Islamic militancy took root largely in the Middle East. The dramatic strike against the United States on 9/11 was the work of Arabs under the direction of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, who was born in Saudi Arabia.

Bin Laden cited anger at U.S. support for Israel and the presence of American forces in Saudi Arabia as the guiding grievances of the terrorist organization that drew American forces into wars in Afghanistan, where bin Laden was believed to be hiding, and Iraq, which was flooded by al-Qaida fighters after the U.S. invasion in 2003.

Those wars and U.S. policy toward Israel have produced a growing belief in the Muslim world that the United States is at war with Islam.

Recalling his speech in Ankara, Turkey, earlier this year, Obama said: "America is not — and never will be — at war with Islam."

And he restated American plans to be out of Iraq by the end of 2011 and declared U.S. forces would leave Afghanistan as soon as Washington could be sure it and neighboring Pakistan no longer were safe havens for bin Laden and his terrorist compatriots.

But Obama dwelled most heavily on an Arab-Israeli peace.

"Too many tears have flowed. Too much blood has been shed," he said.

"It is easy to point fingers," the president said. "But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: The only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security."

Easy to say. Harder is overcoming six decades of hatred and bloodshed, and the entrenched interests that face Obama at home, where it will be difficult to defend policy that appears to tip too far away from Israel.


Steven R. Hurst reports from the White House and has covered international relations for 30 years.

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