Friday, June 5, 2009

Ich Bin Ein Camel Jockey

Our president, Mr. Barack Hussein Obama, has made his most impassioned plea yet to the broader Muslim world with a landmark speech in Cairo yesterday, urging open dialogue about the relationship between the West, its allies, and the interests of the entire global community, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Moderate supporters of the Israeli state will find comfort in the president's evocation of an "unbreakable" bond between the United States and the Jewish homeland. At the same time, Mr. Obama takes pains to affirm his opposition to continued settlements in Palestinian territory, which according to his formulation make a peaceful resolution to the Arab/Israeli conflict all the more remote.

The president's words resonate with Arab audiences but also rise beyond the level of mere rhetoric as the administration has openly signaled that US aid to Israel may be conditioned upon settlement reform. The new Israeli government is left to whine that the previous American administration had made off-the-record assurances to the effect that making swiss cheese out of occupied territories would remain kosher for the foreseeable future. But the Zionist dream of "Greater Israel" has been repudiated by a new president who appears unwilling to allow religious zealots on either side to dictate the terms of the peace process.

None of which, of course, is enough for grief merchants, autocrats, and holy warriors of all stripes whose stock and trade relies almost exclusively on redirecting the shame and humiliation of being history's bitch onto external boogeymen like the United States and Israel. Media mouthpieces in the region had already sounded loud, advanced warnings not to be taken in by the charms of a charismatic, new world leader who at least doesn't look like the sort of guy to start passing out Bible tracts or making arrangements to have Pat Robertson rape your daughter with a crucifix.

Turkish protestor and remarkably sophisticated signage.

Back home, a blathering contingent just as endangered and paranoid was caterwauling about the shrewd leverage of his Muslim roots to appeal to a prideful, wounded, yet crucial demographic. According to these morons, anything approaching a conciliatory gesture is just further proof that Obama is a big, dumb pussy who probably beats off to pictures of Khalid Shiek Mohammed. But this is a group that will be satisfied by nothing less than bombing the sand niggers into oblivion.

The epic struggle in which we find ourselves with millions upon millions of disaffected and radicalized Muslims cannot be won by force of arms alone, though it can be lost on solely communicative grounds. The president's unique personal profile and oratorical brilliance are two of the chief reasons for my early support of his candidacy, which predates his actual run. It's the same powerful possibility that led Al Qaida's top leiutenant to release an awkward statement shortly after Mr. Obama's historic victory in which he accused the press corps of "deliberately confusing" his message by getting in the tank for a black guy with some semblance of a Muslim background.

There is no man alive as capable to do what this president is and must be doing. As the emo kid said to his girlfriend as they gobbled a handful of ecstasy pills: Let's roll.


  1. Well, I would agree with the crux of your argument. The President is trying to appeal to the "Muslim Street" in a campaigning manner. If his approach advances American interests within that region of the world, I'm all for it. If it doesn't, and the "smart power" approach is unsuccessful, we are going to have a lot of catching up to do. Here's hoping.

  2. It's worth a shot. But we're probably headed for glass parking lots anyway.

    I kid.