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Setting the Scene

Jun 2, 2009


As President Obama embarks for Riyadh and Cairo this evening, the "scene setters" appear: the BBC headlines "what could be one of the most important speeches of his presidency"; America's own NPR features a pre-departure interview focused on the Cairo speech as a "high-profile opportunity to reshape America's image among Muslim countries."

We're all familiar how, in professional sports, athletes and coaches try to avoid rash comments before a big game. The same is often true in politics as officials try to manage expectations before a big event. This time, however, the Obama White House has set the bar high. Expect no radical changes in U.S. policy, they seem to be saying, but expect the President to succeed in altering how the Muslim world views the U.S.

Stay tuned. This will be one to watch.

Published in Foreign Policy Association's Blog: "Public Diplomacy: The World Affairs Blog Network", co-hosted by the USC Center on Public Diplomacy.


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