The president must make the most of a surge of goodwill towards him from Muslims and Arabs
BARACK OBAMA’S biggest bonus on his first presidential trip to Arab parts of the Middle East was not being George Bush. Many Arabs in the region, as well as Turks and Persians, are rightly ready to give him a chance to restore his country’s tattered reputation. So his honeyed words, delivered from a font of Islamic learning in Cairo, will have helped him, at least a bit, in that arduous task. But they will not have drawn all the poison of the past eight years, when many of the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims came to believe, erroneously if understandably, that America was their enemy. Mr Obama’s ringing oratory, which drew waves of applause and a rousing ovation, will soon be forgotten unless it is followed by deeds.
Mr Obama rightly eschews Mr Bush’s crudely Manichaean simplifications of the “war on terror”. But he makes it admirably plain that he is no less determined to fend off the still rising tide of Muslim jihadism, to contain the Taliban, and to beat back al-Qaeda, which most Arabs and Muslims abhor. He knows he can do this only with the co-operation of Muslims across the world. If they accept the sincerity of his protestations of good faith in Cairo, he should get more help from them than his hapless predecessor did. America sorely needs it. And Mr Obama deserves it.
So I guess Obama is doing just fine, this time he didn't blame it all on Bush or America, which is good. Any comments on his engagement with the Muslim world?