Saturday, May 9, 2009

Why not in Iraq?

The big news is that President Obama is going to leave behind the mess to do with Chrysler, the Airforce One low flight over New York City, the controversy over CIA interrogation techniques and many other aspects of hope and change in order to address the Muslim population of the world from Egypt.
President Obama next month will travel to Egypt to address the world's Muslims in a major speech, seeking to strengthen U.S. relations with the Islamic orld and fight extremism, the White House said Friday.

Mr. Obama chose Egypt as the venue for the long-promised speech, to be delivered June 4, because the country "in many ways represents the heart of the Arab world," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.
So is it Islam he is reaching out to or the Arab world or does he not know that there is a difference? Did he not mention during his campaign that his credentials for running foreign policy were better than others' because he had spent some years in a primary school in Indonesia? Errm, that is the largest Muslim country in the world but is not Arab.

Furthermore, last month there was a federal election in that country, which seems to have gone peacefully though the Jakarta Post shows itself to be unhappy with various problems and sees a possible constitutional crisis ahead.

Christian Science Monitor mentions that apart from Indonesia there are India with a large Muslim population and Turkey that can be called democracies, though I think they overegg the pudding a bit - there are problems in all three countries but, undoubtedly, they are more democratic than any Arab one, especially Egypt. (The one Arab country that was a democracy for a while, Lebanon, has not been able to climb out of the morass it had descended into.)

The question is if President Obama really wants to reach out to Muslims why does he not speak in one of the countries that are struggling to build up more or less democratic Islamic states? Egypt is not precisely one of them, though that was where Secretary of State Rice had proclaimed that America was now fighting for democracy rather than stability since the fight for stability had not delivered either that or democracy.

Better still, why not make that speech in Iraq?

2 comments:

  1. It also isn't uncontroversial to call Egyptians Arabs. Aside from the ethnicity, many Arabs don't regard them as fellow Arabs.

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  2. You are right. In my experience Egyptians tend to emphasise that they are not Arabs. But then so do many other people whom the rest of the world considers to be Arabs.

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