THE CAIRO 'SPEECH': A BELATED COMMENT FROM CAPRI
"How much the greatest event it is that ever happened in the world and how much the best!"
Charles James Fox, 30th of July 1789, on the fall of the Bastille.
"Obama's speech in Cairo was a brilliant performance. I think it may come to rank with Kennedy's Ich bin ein Berliner speech - and for a similar reason. It was based on an appeal to common humanity and the brotherhood of man. In the context of the Middle East, it was an effort to call an end to the "clash of civilisations".
Gideon Rachman, "Obama's skillful Cairo Speech," 5th of June 2009, in www.ft.com
"If there is anything that is new in what we are considering for Greece and Turkey it is the thought that we are being asked here to go beyond a policy of rhetoric and to give flesh and blood for the first time to principles which we have long acknowledged and admired in the comfortable plane of generality. Here we can no longer hide behind a policy of rhetoric and to give flesh and blood for the first time to principles which we have long acknowledged and admired in the comfortable plane of generality. Here we can no longer hide behind language, behind any international policy of responsibility, or behind that smug sense of disentanglement that animates us whenever we dispense sure charity. Here we have to bite [sic] it and chew on the bitter truth that in this world you cannot even do good today unless you are prepared to exert your share of power, to take your share of responsibility, to make your share of mistakes and to assume your share of risks".
George Frost Kennan to Dean Acheson, 17 March 1947.
Away on the bellissima isle of Capri last week, I was shielded a good deal from the rather nonsensical, indeed one is endeavored to characterize it as hysterical, liberal-bourgeois, bien pensant descriptions that the new American President's speech in Cairo last week evoked. One week later, what can one say in fact about the event itself, and, its significance if any? First, that notwithstanding, the rather stupid and historically illiterate comments (Viz: "tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to Muslims". Meaning that there was such things 'rights and opportunities', prior to 'so-colonialism'in the Near & Middle East?), the speech did in fact em>rhetoricallyspeaking, anchor American policy in the Near & Middle East in a somewhat positive fashion as it relates to both the Palestinian issue and to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. So far, as we are discussing matters to rhetoric & speech-making, then all is as it should be. The only issue of course is that once one gets beyond the speech-making, then things become a little bit less than clear and transparent. Unless and until, one sees some coercive diplomacy employed in the effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, there will be and indeed there cannot be any peaceful resolution of this conflict. Pur et simple. Writing in last week's Times of London Literary Supplement (TLS), the British commentator & ex-Ambassador, Oliver Miles, noted that:
"The 'special relationship' between Israel and America, as President Obama called it after his meeting on May 18 with the new Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, is facing a critical test. Obama is committed to the two state solution and to stopping Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, and he repeated these commitments on May 18. Netanyahu has refused to subscribe to either. He will almost certainly have to make a verbal concession on both, but if he continues to stall in his actions as all Israeli governments including his own have done in the past, Obama will have to decide: will he give in or will he use muscle in a way we have not see since Eisenhower?"
"A face turned East," in The TLS, 29th of May 2009.
Unless and indeed until the above quandary is resolved, then what occurred last week is merely diplomatically speaking, the emitting of so much hot air into the atmosphere.