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misperception and vanity

Reader comment on item: Obama's Foreign Fiasco

Submitted by myth (Germany), Aug 22, 2013 at 05:54

Obama's Cairo speech in hindsight reveals a fundamental misperception. It is the idea that the Islamic countries form an entity and can be addressed as such in a speech. The "Arab Spring", the civil war in Syria and the chaos in Egypt prove, the Islamic countries are torn by any number of internal conflicts, some of them being Islamic by nature. It is not a conflict with the West that fuels the fighting.

I see vanity in delivering the speech in Cairo. Making speeches is fine so long as it follows an achievement. The Cairo speech highlighted the approach of "activity without achievement" (a quote from "Yes Minister"). Did Obama seriously believe that his persona and ambition would inevitably and miraculously produce an achievement to follow? Four years on, the miracle of achievement has not happened.

Both deficiencies characterize US foreign policy today.

I believe US foreign policy needs to be more granular and demonstrate more attention to detail. Translated to Egypt US foreign policy could try to influence the military to protect the Copts. Translated to Syria maybe it should convince Jordan to accommodate more refugees from Syria. Maybe it should help Lebanon to deal with their share of refugees. Small and well aimed steps, if successful, produce more benefits to the US than big clumsily executed interventions. Trouble is, saving the life of one Syrian child will prove more work than writing the Cairo speech.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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