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May 19, 2011

Obama's Big Speech: Should He Apologize?
Posted by Shadi Hamid

I have a new piece out in Slate previewing Obama's big Middle East speech today. I suspect Obama will not do what I suggested he do: apologize. You can read the piece here. I will also be live-tweeting the speech. You can follow me here. We can disagree on whether televised apologies are appropriate or whether they're political suicide with a certain conservative demographic. But my basic point is this: the Obama administration has been behind the democracy curve in nearly every single Arab country. I’m unaware of even one exception to this. Five months into the Arab spring, the U.S. still funds, supports, arms many of the region’s autocracies. I don’t think this has been lost on Arabs.

So, if there’s one message I want to convey, it’s: we can do better. Also, we should do better. Lastly, doing better is actually in U.S. strategic interests. 

We'll wait and see what Obama has to say about that in a few minutes.


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