Consider these facts: Barack Obama is the first president in history to directly address the Muslim world in an inaugural address. His first phone call to a foreign head of state was to the Palestinian Authority’s Ahmoud Abbas. And then came the word that the honor of his first sit-down interview as president had gone to Al Arabiya—self-described as “the leading news channel in the Arab world.”
With all of the issues vying for action by the president, both foreign and domestic, why has President Obama made a priority of communicating with the Muslim world this early and this often in his first week in office? Certainly the Middle East conflict requires the attention of the United States, but why has this president chosen to enter that process by speaking first with the party the United States has historically viewed as the instigator of the conflict?
The media would answer the question by suggesting that the “cowboy diplomacy” of George W. Bush has tarnished America’s image in the Arab world, therefore Obama can waste no time reaching out to them in an effort to restore our credibility. Never mind that the Bush Doctrine actually liberated 50 million people in the Muslim world. Pay no attention to the fact that young girls and women are now being educated in Afghanistan because President Bush took decisive action to root out the oppressive Taliban regime there.
Rather than use his interview with Arab television to point the Arab world to the positive results America has achieved for them, President Obama used this opportunity to throw America under the bus. If you actually heard his interview with Al Arabiya, it would be difficult to conclude that President Obama did anything other than point to America as the source of the problem in the Arab world rather than a collaborator with them in finding a solution.
The interview wasn’t into its first two minutes before Obama tells the Arab interviewer that, when it comes to the on-going Arab-Israeli conflict in Gaza, the United States has acted more like an ignorant dictator:
…what I told (Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell) is start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating—in the past on some of these issues—and we don't always know all the factors that are involved.