Just kidding about the post title, but Obama did an interview with the popular, international media outlet Al-Arabiya for an interview recently. Al-Arabiya is owned by some rich sheikhs from Saudi Arabia and a few other Gulf states, and has been strongly opposed to terrorism in the past. I respect what Obama is trying to do: utilizing public diplomacy to squash some rumors regarding America that continue to persist in the Middle East. For example, many citizens in moderate countries, like Jordan, believe that 9/11 was not caused by terrorists. Obama walked the tightrope on the Israeli/Palestinian issue, which the interviewer hit him up with first. From the transcript:
Ultimately, we cannot tell either the Israelis or the Palestinians what's best for them. They're going to have to make some decisions. But I do believe that the moment is ripe for both sides to realize that the path that they are on is one that is not going to result in prosperity and security for their people. And that instead, it's time to return to the negotiating table.Probably a smart move, as there's no greater polarizing issue in the Middle East than Israel, and we'd be best to keep our distance to some extent. I don't understand our nation's preoccupation with sustaining Israel through aid and completely unwavering support. Is it in our constitution somewhere? If they're such great allies, how come they don't contribute any military forces to Iraq or Afghanistan? I have nothing against Israel, but I don't see why America needs to bend over backwards to support them even at our own diplomatic peril.
Although, his comments about Iran were a bit strange and come near the end:
But I do think that it is important for us to be willing to talk to Iran, to express very clearly where our differences are, but where there are potential avenues for progress. And we will over the next several months be laying out our general framework and approach. And as I said during my inauguration speech, if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us.Since Al-Arabiya is from the Gulf, I doubt they have much sympathy for Iran. Also, it doesn't look like Iran is going to want to talk to us in the first place. We'll see how that works out. Maybe Ahmadinejad will unleash some creepy hour-long rant about how there are no Persian homosexuals like he did at Columbia.