Obama Cairo Speech Bigger Here than There?

Andrew Exum makes an interesting point:

Does anyone else get the sense that Obama’s big speech in Cairo today is a bigger deal in the Western world than it is in the Arabic-speaking and Islamic worlds? The speech is only the #2 story on al-Jazeera right now, behind the clash between Palestinian security forces and Hamas in Qalqilya.

His commenters suggest that Arabs are tired of hearing speeches and have heard all this before.  That’s likely true.

More importantly, though, Americans have an unfounded faith that everything is about us and that everybody would love us if only they knew us.  To the extent we have problems with the rest of the world, it’s either because they don’t understand us or because our president isn’t being nice enough.  That’s not how it works.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Eric Florack says:

    More importantly, though, Americans have an unfounded faith that everything is about us and that everybody would love us if only they knew us. To the extent we have problems with the rest of the world, it’s either because they don’t understand us or because our president isn’t being nice enough. That’s not how it works.

    Correct. And so what, then, is the Chosen One negotiating?

  2. Matthew Stinson says:

    When I saw the Arab opinion round-ups that were 50-75% negative about Obama’s speech, I started to get the feeling that either (a) the speech won’t have the stated effect of moving the Muslim world toward America or (b) that the actual intended effect was not to mend the rift with the Muslim world but to give Obama a speech that would make him look truly presidential. Of course, both things could be true.

  3. Eric Florack says:

    Heh. careful, guys. Remember that this was a speech partially directed at Iran. You’re going to get tagged for referring to Iranians as ‘arabs’ by the usual nutcases.

  4. Drew says:

    “…Americans have an unfounded faith that everything is about us and that everybody would love us if only they knew us. To the extent we have problems with the rest of the world, it’s either because they don’t understand us or because our president isn’t being nice enough.”

    Americans, or the American media?

    “That’s not how it works.”

    Amen.