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January 04, 2010

Obama the Counter-Insurgent Revisited
Posted by Michael Cohen

Over at the Plank, Isaac Chotiner is concerned that Obama is taking his own rhetorical prowess too seriously:

[Obama] is committed to taking aggressive actions to disrupt terrorist cells, aides said, but he also considers his speech in Cairo to the Islamic world in June central to his efforts to combat terrorism. “If you asked him what are the most important things he’s done to fight terrorism in his first year, he would put Cairo in the top three,” Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff, told me.

Really? This is called putting too much faith in the power of your own words.

Actually, I think Obama is 100% correct about this - and it gives me an opportunity to revisit one of my favorite blog posts ever. It's the one I wrote back in June after the President's Cairo speech in which I argued that by speaking to the Muslims as equals and partners; by pledging even-handedness on Israel/Palestine and by arguing that Arab regimes must create political space for Islamic movements, the Cairo speech was an extremely effective counter-insurgent approach to dealing with Al Qaeda. 

Of course, in fairness to Isaac there is the whole issue of follow through . . . and there is certainly room for criticism on that front.

Read the whole thing here:


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... the Cairo speech was an extremely effective counter-insurgent approach to dealing with Al Qaeda.

Do you have any empirical evidence for this claim?

really Obama thought he would prove his even-handedness towards Israel by boasting of Friday’s trip to a concentration camp and rejecting Holocaust denial....

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