Sunday, June 07, 2009

Fallout from Obama's Cairo University speech

It has only been a couple of days since President Obama gave a speech at Cairo University in Egypt, and already the speech seems to be a dead letter. For example, King Abdullah wants the United States to impose peace on the Israelis and Palestinians:
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has urged U.S. President Barack Obama to impose a solution on the festering Arab-Israeli conflict if necessary, a Saudi newspaper said on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia and other Arab states want Obama to get tough with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has balked at Palestinian statehood and defied U.S. calls to halt the expansion of Jewish settlements.

King Abdullah told Obama during his visit to Riyadh last week that Arab patience was wearing thin and that a solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict would be the "magic key" to all issues in the region, al-Hayat said, quoting what it called informed sources.
This can't be a pleasant request for the Obama administration to receive. In Obama's speech, he promised the world that the United States doesn't impose its values by force; to do so would be totally foolish and counter-productive. Three days later, the King of Saudi Arabia is asking the United States to start imposing its values on some other country. It's as if the whole speech had gone in one ear and out the other.

Of course, King Abdullah isn't stupid. Obviously, he has figured out what many other people around the world are starting to figure out: that what President Obama says in public is mostly just feel-good, glad-handing, cah-cah. What King Abdullah really pays attention to is the reality of power, and right now the reality of power is that the Obama administration has both the anti-Israel sentiment and the powerful public support necessary for imposing conditions on Israel.

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