Obama’s Al Arabiya Gambit
In my New Atlanticist essay, “Obama’s First Interview Goes to Al Arabiya,” I assess the domestic fallout, international optics, and foreign policy implications of President Obama giving his first formal interview in office to an Arab network.
On the policy front, I’m not sold.
So long as the United States is dependent on Persian Gulf oil, considers Israel among its strongest allies, supports the Saudi royal family, and otherwise sees itself having interests worth defending in the Middle East and South Asia — which is to say, for the entirety of the foreseeable future — American policy will be anathema to radical forces in the region. No amount of happy talk will change that fact.
That doesn’t mean, by the way, that we shouldn’t continue this type of outreach to moderate Muslims. We absolutely should. And, as Thomas Barnett and others argue, we should back up the talk with policies that contribute to the development of prosperity of the people who live there. But don’t expect that any of that will have significant, short-term impact on anti-Americanism and its unhappy byproducts.
Much more at the link.