I have previously expressed my concerns about President Obama and his approach to the war on terror, but I have absolutely no problem with him courting the Arab media.
In fact, I cannot understand why any thinking person would be opposed to the idea of an American president attempting to reach the Arab street in this manner. Isn’t this what we want our presidents to do? To try to get past the Ahmedinajads of the world and speak directly to the people? “Tear Down This Wall” and “Ich Bin Ein Berliner” – anyone? anyone? Bueller?
Moreover, there is nothing particularly new or radical about this move- President Bush realized the importance of such efforts and gave several interviews to Al-Arabiya. In addition, the Republican party gave Al-Jazeera its own booth and banner at the 2004 Republican Convention, a courtesy that apparently was denied by the Democrats that year.
My concern, of course, is what the President says, not where he says it.
Turning to the substance of his comments, I do take issue with the way President Obama uses his background and ethnicity when it suits him, while playing the victim when others make mention of it. To wit, note the following:
[Obama] talked about growing up in Indonesia, the Muslim world’s most populous nation, and noted that he has Muslim relatives.
During the campaign Obama supporters (especially his cheerleaders in the media) expressed outrage when others dared to mention his muslim roots. Pretty disingenuous to trot them out now when it suits his interests.