Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Obama Hits the Ground Running

As soon has Air Force One landed President Obama took off running to see his Saudi masters. The truth is that Obama talking to the Muslim world will only accomplish one thing, and that will be getting those who do not follow the subject of Islam closely to believe that the Islamic world is changing for the better. If the Muslim world wanted to change, talks are not needed. They would just do it.

To open a Muslim dialogue, Obama visits Saudi king
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – President Barack Obama began his latest bid to open a dialogue with the Muslim world by paying a call Wednesday on Saudi King Abdullah, guardian of Islam's sacred sites in Mecca and Medina.

The monarch of Saudi Arabia greeted Obama at Riyadh's main airport with a ceremony when the new U.S. president arrived after an overnight flight from Washington. A band played "The Star-Spangled Banner." And each leader shook hands with members of his counterpart's entourage.

Perched on ornate chairs behind a flower arrangement, Obama and Abdullah then chatted briefly in public and shook hands, with cameras capturing the scene. Then, they retreated to hold private talks on a range of issues.

Saudi Arabia is a stopover en route to Cairo, where Obama is to set deliver a speech that he's been promising since last year's election campaign — aiming to set a new tone in America's often-strained dealings with the world's 1.5 billion Muslims.

Many of those Muslims still smolder over Iraq, Guantanamo and unflinching U.S. support of Israel, but they are hoping the son of a Kenyan Muslim who lived part of his childhood in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, can help chart a new course.

"You know, there are misapprehensions about the West, on the part of the Muslim world," Obama said in a pretrip interview with the BBC. "And, obviously, there are some big misapprehensions about the Muslim world when it comes to those of us in the West."

Aides cautioned that Obama was not out to break new policy ground in his Cairo speech, which follows visits to Turkey and Iraq in April and a series of outreach efforts including a Persian New Year video and a student town hall in Istanbul. And they said the president is not expecting quick results, even though the speech will be distributed as widely as possible.

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