After going on Al Arabia, Obama said 'iranians are a great people' and 'if they unclinch their fist they will find an extended hand' In turn, the president of iran did this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7855444.stm Two things I noticed about the situation: (1) Red necks (sorry, gotta use that term here) think Obama is projecting weakness by speaking softly. I will adress this point first. Most American's dont know middle eastern culture, let alone where the middle east is on a map. That being said, they simply don't have a clue on the tone in which you talk to someone from the middle east is not the same tone you talk to Joe the Plumber. Middle eastern culture is highly centered around respect. You can disagree, but you don't dictate to someone if they are middle eastern. Bush did a lot of dictating and hardly any listening. Also, Obama mentioned he had family that was muslim. This is going to earn him major, major points in terms of PR in the ME. It was pretty apauling to watch Bill O'reilly today with his butt buddy dennis miller trash talk obama; however, the tone wasn't that of a news show. It was two guys making inappropriate comments as if they were talking at the water cooler. In all honesty, I was so digusted by what they were saying I had to change the channel (a first for me). See: http://www.foxnews.com/oreilly/ Then go to --> Milley Time ---> 1/28/09 More to the point, what (the rednecks) fail to realize is that Obama has set the stage for talks. If they decide to not work with Obama, Obama has framed his help in such a way that they look bad for not accepting his hand in friendship, instead of him looking bad. This is exactly the pitfal Bush got himself into. He was criticized for not having a valid coalition force that had middle eastern components to it (Pay attention to HOW bush formed his coalition. He stated his case for war, and blatantly ignored anyone who didn't see it his way). As a result, he either had to go it alone, or beg others for help. Obviously, he was left with the only option of going it alone. (2) Ahmadinejad's demand for US apology At first, I thought .....here we go again. However, the FACT is, we DID support a Coup in 1953 that overthrew the Iranian government and put a dicator in place that did torture the people in Iran. When the Iranian people revolted in 1979 (and took hostages) the US returned the favor by helping Sadam use chemical weapons (and the Iran Contra scandal) during the Iran Iraq war which lasted 10 years and killed over a million people. The same way I would demand an apology from the Taliban for 9/11, or the Jews would demand an apology from the German Government, or the blacks should get an apology from the US government. The problem with apologizing to Ahmadinejad, is that he will go the obvious route and demand discontiunation of support for Israel (unrealistic). That's why Obama can't apolgozie (even though on behalf of the USA he should). Either way, by framing his interview on Al Arabia in the tone of respect, Ahmadinejad came of looking really, really bad (especially from a middle eastern perspective of mutal respect). So, although he came off as harsh: the man has a valid point.