At last, his long-anticipated address to the Islamic world from a Muslim capital … which, er, I thought he already delivered last month in Ankara. Maybe he’s thinking he should repeat it given the Taliban’s march towards Islamabad? Obviously they didn’t hear him the first time.
Some flowery language this time about how America *hearts* Islam ought to stop that advance cold.
Obama pledged during the campaign to address the Muslim world from a Muslim capital within the first few months of taking office. Picking a site proved challenging for a range of reasons — from diplomacy to security — and the decision took longer than expected, with Obama commissioning options from a research team.
Having settled on Egypt, the White House today announced that he is adding a stop there to his early June overseas trip. That trip will also take him to Normandy, France, for the anniversary of D-Day, and to the Buchenwald concentration camp and Dresden, Germany.
Choosing Egypt will inevitably bring comparisons with a major speech that then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave in Cairo 2005, urging democracy and reform in the Middle East.
Given the Muslim Brotherhood’s popularity in Egypt, there’s nowhere in the region except possibly Riyadh that’s less suited to a pro-democracy message; The One’s brand of realpolitik will, at least, be a better match for the location than Condi’s utopianism. Meanwhile, what’s up with the stopover in Dresden? Ace and JWF are worried that Obama’s got a fee-vah and the only prescription is more apologizing for America, but surely not even he would stoop to moral equivalence in World War II. Expect some mealy rhetoric about how the firebombing reminds us that we’re all “children of God” — just like Reagan used when he visited the cemetery at Bitburg.