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Obama Trip Offers Audacity and 'Hope,' But Will It Bring Action?

By Ben Pershing
Yesterday around this time, President Obama was delivering an historic speech to the Muslim world, an address that included tough words for Israel and recognition that "the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable." Roughly an hour from now, Obama will pay tribute to victims of the Holocaust by touring Buchenwald concentration camp with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The contrast between Thursday's agenda and today's neatly encapsulates the ambitious scope of Obama's trip. Of course, yesterday's address mixed empathy for the Palestinians with a firm defense of Israel's right to exist. And it included both veiled criticisms of his predecessor's policies and a broader defense of America's efforts to combat terror. So is the president trying to be all things to all people? Is this arrogance or, to borrow from a book title, audacity?

The Economist called the Cairo speech "a superb oratorical performance" that "will bring hope across the Middle East and farther afield." But The Washington Post reports that "his efforts to use new language to recast old grievances have already prompted debate and consternation in some quarters." And words aside, what will Obama actually do next on the several fronts covered in his address? "Despite his often soaring rhetoric, the president actually outlined a strategic agenda for U.S. interests that is narrowly defined and limited in scope," Robert Satloff writes in The New Republic.

Continue reading at Political Browser »

By Ben Pershing  |  June 5, 2009; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Rundown  
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History has shown cynics never accomplished anything of value. During Bush presidency, his brazen, cowboy approach created too many cynics and did not help his cause, assuming he truly believes in them. Here for the 1st time is a true leader of the free world, speaking a sincere language not only for domestic consumption, but displays an unusual empathy to others. That alone is a stark departure from the past and a powerful message to everyone. Sure we can all point to a lack of concrete steps, but what's the use of deluding ourselves with signed agreements when they are just political games, only for domestic consumption and to be discarded when useless. A real framework of trust must 1st be there and Obama has started the tentative 1st steps to ensure a better than normal chance of success. By now it should be obvious that Obama is definitely not a dimwit president to be taken lightly by the cynics and the extremists alike.

Posted by: chlai88 | June 5, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Not as bad as Obama saying he'll put sanctions on Israel:

Posted by: MatthewAvitabile | June 5, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse


Will Team Obama wake up and address America's "Silent Holocaust"...

The covert assault of unjustly targeted Americans and their families by government-funded operatives equipped with mind- and body-degrading microwave radiation "directed energy weapons" and covertly implanted GPS tracking beacons?

The weaponization of the electromagnetic spectrum is upon us... while the mainstream media sleeps.

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

Posted by: scrivener50 | June 5, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

The Arab and Muslim's hatred for America is so deep seated that I don't believe any speech could possibly do any good whatsoever.

They want western blood and they are hell bent on getting it, as shown through their words and their actions.
Nothing short of their goals of death for every western man woman and child will stem this outpouring of blood lust.

They have been driven mentally insane by religion.
In a 1000 years after a 10000 speeches, they will still be insane murderers, murdering for the sake of murder, and condoned by Allah.

Posted by: Thozmaniac | June 5, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Hope is a component of faith. President Obama has chosen to operate out of faith rather than out of fear. We should all be grateful for a hopeful future. ........

Posted by: glclark4750 | June 5, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

'Of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people. These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.'

A very fine and timely speech from President Obama. Yet the words do require something of real substance to provide for the necessary momentum that should follow them.

Resolving the Israeli Palestinian conflict has always been a tough nut to crack and sixty or more years into the process has done little to change that fact. Nevertheless, some real possibility of movement on the issue may now exist where none existed before. Whether the US administration's current stance on the matter will bear fruit remains to be seen but things do seem to be moving in the right direction.

Direction is one thing, however. Progress is another. How far down the line will this new initiative take us before some major 'incident' occurs to roll back the advances made, before we have to return to square one and begin the journey all over again? It seems to me that a plan B would not go amiss here, a backup contingency to level the playing field in our favour, some fail-safe that consolidates and builds upon whatever gains have been achieved? Without one, it's going to be an uphill struggle all the way, one in which our speed of ascent may be barely discernible at times.

'These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.'

Are we going to act boldly? Do we understand and will we share the challenges we face? If not, then our failure to meet them will indeed hurt us all.

Posted by: Yorke1845 | June 5, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

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