Robinson lays it down, talking about how The Prez used his personal history and excellence in communication to speak to another people in their own language their and with own references and make at least one Muslim cry "I love you!" Check him out"
Being Obama Matters Jun 8, 2009 By Eugene Robinson
I used to fear that President Obama was overestimating the power of his personal history as an instrument of foreign policy. Now I wonder if he might have been underestimating.
In several interviews during the long presidential campaign, Obama mentioned the potential impact in other countries of seeing an American president with an appearance and a life story like none of his predecessors. He spoke especially of how the Muslim world, addressed by a president who had a Muslim father and who spent years of his childhood in a Muslim country, might be more inclined to believe that the United States is not an enemy of Islam.
But nations tend to act on the basis of perceived national interest, not personality. I thought that in the final analysis, if Obama became president—which seemed a very long shot when I first heard Obama mention this theme, in a March 2007 interview—he would be seen as friend or foe depending on how he conducted U.S. foreign policy.
Now, after Obama’s trip to the Middle East, I think we both were right.
Taking a cold-eyed view of international affairs is never wrong. But it’s also wrong to ignore the spectacle of an audience member, at Obama’s Cairo University speech, interrupting an American president to shout, “We love you!” You will recall that the last memorable presidential appearance in the Arab world was the news conference in Iraq at which two shoes were hurled at the head of George W. Bush.
Not being Bush was a big factor. But at least as important was being Obama—and being able to say, as the president did in Cairo, that “I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed.”
Obama was referring to the “generations of Muslims” in his father’s Kenyan family, his early years in Indonesia and his experience working in Chicago communities where “many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.” The most important word in that sentence, however, came at the end: By saying revealed rather than born, Obama was acknowledging Islam as a divinely given faith.
Obama quoted liberally from the Quran, drawing applause. Perhaps more important was that he opened the speech by putting Islam in the historical context that many Muslims believe the West willfully ignores. He spoke of how the Islamic world kept the light of civilization burning during Europe’s Dark Ages—and mentioned the Quran that Thomas Jefferson kept in his library.
Obama was speaking the language of Islam in a tone of respect. What a concept.For the full story, click here.