March 30, 2020

Reprinted from the CPD Blog by R.S. Zaharna (Aug 6, 2015)

AU Professor, R.S. Zaharna compares JFK's and Obama's peace speeches.

It's a time-honored tradition: When a U.S. president gives his State of the Union address, interest groups pore over the carefully crafted remarks line by line, word by word, to assess the administration's priorities and blind spots. The exercise plays out, if to a lesser degree, overseas as well: The day after President Obama's sixth address, news outlets in Kiev, Beijing, and Tehran are picking apart references to their countries.

The significance of the bipartisan rebuke of Obama and the broad consensus of the international community is evident in Netanyahu’s specific lines that received the most enthusiastic applause - when he defied Obama's suggestion that the 1967 borders be the basis of negotiations.

There has been some criticism of Obama being long on rhetoric and short on specifics, but that is what public speeches are all about. They are supposed to appeal to our hearts, not our heads....This is the very essence of "soft power".

May 19, 2011

Philip Seib notes for The Huffington Post that President Obama faces numerous obstacles as he attempts to "reset" US-Arab relations. According to Seib, the president needs to focus on key issues if he wants to establish a credible relationship with the Muslim world

November 10, 2010

It’s a colossal shame that presidential life has no magic rewind button, for if it did—and we could whirr ourselves back to June 2009—we’d have had Barack Hussein Obama skip Pharaonic old Cairo, city of the ghastly Hosni Mubarak and a tightly coiled hatred of the West, and deliver his first major speech to a Muslim nation in Indonesia...