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Obama on Al Arabia

  1. Jan 29, 2009 #1
    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2009
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  3. Jan 29, 2009 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    Obama is poetry in motion.

    He won't get any apologies - at least not any time in the near future - but that can be used as a bartering chip.
     
  4. Jan 29, 2009 #3
    Watch the O'Reilly clip. It's honestly distasteful to the point it should be taken off tv.
     
  5. Jan 29, 2009 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    Alright, I did, but only because you asked. Heh, compare that to any program on PBS.

    I don't understand why anyone watches this stuff; esp you! It is like reading grocery store newspapers.
     
  6. Jan 29, 2009 #5

    LowlyPion

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    I think O'Reilly and Limbaugh have come to the point that they are marginalizing themselves with their extreme positions, choosing ideology and partisanship over measured tactical diplomacy.

    There is no wonder that Obama has an 80% approval. Even the conservatives are getting tired of these nitwit talking heads thinking they are driving the buggy.

    In the House this Boehner character is sounding like an idiot drinking the same Kool aid mash as these guys are dishing. Sadly their only strategy seems to be to stake out an opposition position and hope for the country to fail. It's almost despicable.

    As for Miller he's had his face smooched up to Bush's rear for so long he just doesn't know what anything else looks like.
     
  7. Jan 29, 2009 #6

    BobG

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    Yes, it was.

     
  8. Jan 29, 2009 #7

    Gokul43201

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    The thread is about Obama's strategy with the ME and more specifically about his interview (or am I mistaken?). Let's not make it about O'Reilly or Limbaugh or Miller and have this thread shut down too.
     
  9. Jan 29, 2009 #8

    russ_watters

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    I like it, but isn't it basically the same policy as before, now just stated to them instead of stated to reporters in press conferences. The policy remains: if you want us to deal with you, you need to stop being terrorists.
    You're basically right, but can't we, on this forum, be better/more realistic than that? I mean - you did expect the reaction he got, right? Otherwise, we're just being naive about his odds for success.

    You're also missing the other side of the coin: yes, Ahmadinejad is made to look bad to the international community by this, but so what? He already looks bad and isn't going to get any worse. Just as important is how it makes Obama look to him. We're not fighting the average Iranian here (yes, the people of Iran are actually relatively moderate), we're fighting the murderous nuts and by approaching murderous nuts with your hat in hand, you weaken your position. This statement of Obama's doesn't do that much either way - again (as with the Pakistan attack), one soundbyte doesn't determine success or failure in a policy/Presidency.
    Peace talks require only that both sides accept that peace is the goal of the talks. Requiring concessions (other than a mutual acceptance of a desire for peace) before talks weakens the position of the one giving the unilateral concessions. It is an improper and counterproductive way to negotiate.

    After all - Obama didn't ask for an apology for their terrorism, did he? No, he shouldn't ask for nor give an apology.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2009
  10. Jan 29, 2009 #9

    russ_watters

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    Extremism gets ratings and it even occasionally gets people elected (maybe) to the senate. That's just the way it is, good, bad, or indifferent.
    Not any more he doesn't. 68% as of last weekend: http://www.gallup.com/poll/113968/Obama-Initial-Approval-Ratings-Historical-Context.aspx

    It's easy to have a high approval rating when you're planning a party. Now that the wedding is over, the approval rating is dropping because he actually has to do stuff. He's still on his honeymoon, but eventually, he'll get back to reality with his approval rating.
     
  11. Jan 29, 2009 #10

    Gokul43201

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    I suspect you may be omitting one particular important group from the "international community": other countries in the ME.

    I imagine that a poll in the ME of "who's the more evil person - Bush or Ahmedinejad?" would get you a nearly unanimous voice proclaiming Bush to be the worse of the two (and Ahmedinejad, by contrast and through standing up to Bush, looks like a hero). Obama has a much better chance of winning a popularity contest in the ME by playing his cards right. And if he can do that - get the locals more on his side - that's half the battle won.

    To paraphrase Tom Clancy (from Carrier, I think), you're in for a long and hard campaign if you don't have the locals on your side.
     
  12. Jan 29, 2009 #11
    Recent Israel attacks have worsen the conditions - I don't see any stage for negotiations unless Iran will be getting something in return. If Ahmadinejad comes out soft, he would lose the elections provided that there is a strong hate for Israel and America due to recent events.

    I would be surprised if that's all he want.
     
  13. Jan 29, 2009 #12

    Gokul43201

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    I'm sure this has to be a very big part of the calculation performed by the Obama team: how do you manage your Iran policy over the next few months so as to not give Ahmedinejad a popularity boost that will get him re-elected?

    It is important to note that one of the big reasons he was elected in the first place, in 2005, was because of the Iraq war.
     
  14. Jan 29, 2009 #13

    For solving those problems, It's just does not look possible to me (at least for next few/many decades), and it's not Ahmedinejad but all of Iran:
    1.
    2. He wants Nuclear power
    3. He is aggressive against Israel

    I hope that he really doesn't want #1 (American to step down as a superpower). But, he wouldn't sit on the table without #2...If he gets #2 then there would be more instability.
     
  15. Jan 29, 2009 #14

    LowlyPion

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    I don't think there is any doubt that Mahmoud is playing his own election game.

    And of course regardless of what Obama might do, he will only set the bar higher with new demands and tell America to jump over that bar if there ever is an apology. And then try to the best of his ability to make it appear that he is calling the shots.

    The real question will be if the Mullahs might sense a chance to advantage themselves with a rapprochement and maybe decide that Mahmoud is more an impediment to that than a useful extension of their interests.
     
  16. Jan 29, 2009 #15

    Gokul43201

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    I think a lot will come down to whether or not Karroubi will be allowed to run, and who his competition will be from the Reformist wing. Rafsanjani would have had a great chance of winning if he could run but he's too old (Iran has an upper bound on the eligibility age), and Karroubi has strained relations with Khamenei, so there's no telling what will happen with him. But, if he is not disqualified, Karroubi will definitely run, and will easily win a sizable fraction of the vote. Unfortunately, I think he may end up splitting the reformist vote with Mohammad Hashemi (Rafsanjani's brother), if he also runs. If Karroubi is ruled ineligible from the start, then M. Hashemi might have a reasonable chance against Ahmadinejad, or if Karroubi is eligible and Hashemi doesn't run, then too, I'd be hopeful.
     
  17. Jan 29, 2009 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    I've had a number Iranian friends and a couple that were close friends, and I have always been amazed by how much we have in common; even if they have only been here a very short time. In spite of what we might see as vastly different cultures, I find that Iranians and Americans have a surprisingly natural compatibility. More than not we share a common worldview, a common sense of humor, a common sense of priorities. In short, we should be able to understand each other and get along - in spite of how it might appear on the evening news, there is no giant cultural divide that fundamentally prevents us from being friendly.
     
  18. Jan 30, 2009 #17
    I'm afraid this point ignores the facts about the iranian people vs. the iranian government.
     
  19. Jan 30, 2009 #18

    Ivan Seeking

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    George Bush sure didn't represent me or my views.
     
  20. Jan 30, 2009 #19
    That's a good example. For the most part, the Iranain people are diametrically opposed to the Iranian Government and are pro USA.
     
  21. Jan 30, 2009 #20
    I believe the majority of anti-us sentiment in iran came from fear that bush would invade their country.
    to add to your analysis regarding the perception of obama vs ahmadinijad I would imagine there is a certain practical component. "which of these men is likely to be a bigger threat to my desired way of life?" they would likely be considering. between an american president offering diplomacy and an iranian president snubbing that offer I'd imagine the math wouldn't be too hard.
     
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