On Obama’s second big Middle East speech

When Obama gave his first big speech on the Middle East, in Cairo, it was not as bold as I might have hoped but there was still something historic about it.  Since then, something historic has actually happened, on the ground, across the region: widespread popular uprisings — some successful, some still underway — in support of the very values of freedom and democracy that the US has long professed to wish to see in the region.

Obama’s second big speech on the Middle East came moments ago and it was, if anything, more timid than the first.  It was a speech that could have been given by any American president for the last few decades, touching on the usual list of American interests: economic opportunity, the status of women, the protection of religious minorities, the stout defense of Israel — all worthy causes, but I had wanted to hear from Obama the sound of a great historic page being turned.

There has been a revolution in the Arab world but, thus far it seems, no revolution in American thinking.


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