Obama’s Al Arabiya Gambit

In an image made from a video provided by Al-Arabiya, President Barack Obama is interviewed in Washington by Dubai-based Al-Arabiya cable network Monday Jan. 26, 2009.  It was the Obama's first formal television interview as president given to an Arabic cable TV network. (AP Photo/Al-Arabiya)

In an image made from a video provided by Al-Arabiya, President Barack Obama is interviewed in Washington by Dubai-based Al-Arabiya cable network Monday Jan. 26, 2009. It was the Obama

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.

FILED UNDER: Middle East, Terrorism, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor 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. Christopher says:

    No amount of happy talk will change that fact? Huh? But James! That’s prez B.O.’s whole foreign policy!

    Why did u support him for president if you didn’t believe in his foreign policy?




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  2. James Joyner says:

    Why did u support him for president if you didn’t believe in his foreign policy?

    In fact, I didn’t support him for president — or even for the nomination of other party.




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  3. caj says:

    I think what Prez Obama did with the interview was right, he wants to be inclusive and reach out to all in this world of such turmoil.
    Keep ostracizing people will not get us anywhere, talking is better than looking down the barrel of a gun as the answer to everything.




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