Thursday, January 22, 2009

JJ Green's take on Obama's inaugural speech

TERRORISM: The Next Four Years
"To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy."

President Barack Obama said those words in his inaugural address on January 20th.

He delivered an olive branch and warning shot in the same breath.

Iran and Pakistan were two of the recipients.

Which one got which gift?

Well, being the clever politician that he is, Mr. Obama seemed to leave it up to them to decide which interpretation they embrace.

In the two months since he won the Presidential election, there've been an attack in Mumbai and a flare-up between Israel and Gaza. Pakistani militants figured prominently in the attack in India and Iran is the principle weapons supplier to Hamas.

From time to time, you may hear both positive and negative rhetoric toward the U.S. from both countries. However, Iran has done very little to establish good relations with the U.S., so I would imagine they get the warning shot. Given the cold shoulder they got from the Bush administration, it wasn't all Iran's fault.

Given Pakistan's cooperation in the war on terror, they certainly get an olive branch, but some of their political and military leaders have bristled at the U.S. lately over the missile attacks on al Qaida figures in the tribal territories.

Simply put, Mr Obama's message to the muslim world seemed to suggest that if they want to work with his administration to solve some of the world's problems, the door is open, but if any are looking for a fight, they'll have to answer to their citizens.

In short, he made a brilliant move, which he will no doubt remind the world that he's made during his administration --especially the world's bullies get out of line.

I think that is about right.

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