Post by nebcanuck, Stephen’s son.
If President Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo on Thursday is designed to hit “reset” on Washington’s relations with the Muslim world, the White House may soon find that it is pushing the wrong buttons. Public diplomacy in the lands of Islam is a deeply complicated affair, and Muslims do it much better than U.S. presidents.
“By addressing the ‘Islamic world’ from Cairo,” writes Goldman, “Obama lends credibility to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and other advocates of political Islam who demand that Muslims be addressed globally and on religious terms.” In other words, the American president is playing into the hands of those who seek to bring down the U.S.-backed order in the Middle East.
The point makes excellent sense. I’ll admit, I hadn’t even thought of the fact that addressing Islam as a whole would be a political statement out of the norm. I tend to take it for granted that the “Islamic World” does exist. Not as a uniform, unshifting mass, of course, but as a general term, the same as European or Western Nations. But since the demise of the Ottoman Empire, technically the term is different.
But does that make it so?