In his much ballyhooed speech given in Cairo, Egypt, yesterday, Barack Obama sought to make common cause with the “Muslim world” as if all Muslims are in accord. Of course, this ignores the simple fact that Muslims kill Muslims far more than Muslims even kill others. Still, it’s all well and good to want to make common cause when it is achievable.
There is much to agree with in Obama’s Cairo speech. (Full text here) His rhetoric about freedom of religion and the American success story is right on. There is also much to quibble with, especially that he seems to assume a moral equivalence between all parties in the conflict between the west and that “Muslim world.”
There is, however, one line in his speech that reveals what he thinks of us and where he thinks we should be as a nation. And that “where” is down.
Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners of it. Our problems must be dealt with through partnership; progress must be shared.
What does this say about how President Obama feels about his own nation? Is he not interested in “elevating” us to a higher status if possible? Are we to assume he wants to keep the U.S. down so that it won’t outshine any other nation? Should we assume that he wants to make sure we have as dismal a standard of living as other countries just to be “fair”? Should we abandon our status in the world to avoid the appearance of being “elevated”?
I don’t know about you but the idea of a leveled world playing field implicit in this comment seems to compare quite well with Obama’s stated ideals of “spreading the wealth” that gave him so much trouble during the late presidential campaign.
So, how far will President Obama go to make Muslims feel good? Will he go so far as to make sure the U.S.A. isn’t perceived as being better than anyone else? And will he do his best to lay our country low to fulfill his diplomatic philosophy?
Maybe. But only if the American voter allows him to do so.