Thursday, June 04, 2009

And why couldn't someone on the advance team put the nose back on the Sphinx? That's just poor planning.

Obama in Egypt is a pretty thrilling sight. His speech to the so-called "Muslim World" was well-delivered, generally inspiring, but a game changer...I'm not so sure. Just being elected President was the game changer. Now he's trying to play the new game. One thing that I will say in concert with a particularly interesting critical view offered by Reza Aslan, is Egypt was the wrong venue. Sure, you get the photo op at the pyramids afterward. You could almost here the shtick - "first time visitor, long time admirer." But the shadow of Hosni Mubarak dims the view of anything Obama may see in Egypt. When he was a kid, Barack lived in Indonesia. That country has the largest Muslim population of any nation on the planet, that can also bridge a much forgotten gap to the world's Hindu population. Seriously - when will someone tell American politicians to mention Hindus when they run through their stock phraseology of the world's top religions? I'm not saying bring up Scientology. Just run the numbers. Anyhoo, Indonesia has a democratically-elected government, whose secular parties recently won a nationwide mandate. On the other hand, Mubarak is a self-identified President for Life (not in the same terms of our nation's convoluted semantic debate - he thinks he's the frickin' King). And while I appreciate the symbolism of cruising through Saudi Arabia on the way to Egypt, Obama's strategists I think missed an incredible opportunity to make an impact on those oppressed Muslim citizens of the World that want Democracy above all else. I sincerely hope this tour helps the standing of the U.S. in the eyes of so many that had furrowed their brows at us through the disastrous period when Dubya ran the show the few hours a day he wasn't strapped onto his mountain bike. But I'm not going to let this super cool dood off the hook when I think he's playing it like he's outside the lines. This was a safe run through the Middle East. The fact that we're playing nice on their court, though - total class.

Hope your own disappointments today go no further than the amount of sprinkles on your cupcake. Rock on.

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