al Obamaiya: The President’s Cairo Speech

Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

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30 Responses

  1. Bob says:

    I’m not paying close attention to the speach or reaction to it at this point. May do so latter today. But did some one really call it an “earth-shattering event?” I’m feeling a wee bit of spin.Report

  2. I thought it was a pretty good speech and a bit more aggressive than I thought it would be. One place I think it will get good play is in Iran.Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    A stirring, lovely speech.

    Liberal in the best sense of the word.

    Let’s hope that many, many seeds are planted and that it is, in fact, earth-shattering.

    Though I agree that the jury is still out on that last part… but, on the bright side, the *POTENTIAL* is there. Let’s hope. (No pun intended.)Report

  4. Chris Dierkes says:

    Morning Joe called it historic.Report

  5. Bob says:

    “Morning Joe called it historic.”

    Historic equals earth-shattering? I don’t think so. But nice try.Report

  6. greginak says:

    Morning Joe wouldn’t raise the average IQ in a room of 5th graders.Report

  7. mike farmer says:

    Why doesn’t he just send audio recordings like OBL?Report

  8. matoko_chan says:


  9. Bob says:

    Chris, I hope I would avoid the use of such a term, ES. But with a gun pointed at my dog’s head, a la National Lampoon, I might allow for ES events such as the development of monotheism, the printing press, computer chips, and the hamburger. But I might quickly back off one or two of them that gun were switched from Buddy to me.Report

  10. Ralf says:

    Yes, Chris the word is ought. Twice is not a typo.

    I enjoyed your Readers Digest sweetened condensed Obama speech.Report

  11. matoko_chan says:

    Here’s my shorter Obama, Ralf.

    Teacher: Earth-That-Was could no longer sustain our numbers, we were so many. We found a new solar system, dozens of planets and hundreds of moons. Each one terraformed, a process taking decades, to support human life, to be new Earths. The Central Planets formed the Alliance. Ruled by an interplanetary parliament, the Alliance was a beacon of civilization. The savage outer planets were not so enlightened and refused Alliance control. The war was devastating, but the Alliance’s victory over the Independents ensured a safer universe. And now everyone can enjoy the comfort and enlightenment of our civilization.
    Young River: People don’t like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don’t run, don’t walk. We’re in their homes and in their heads and we haven’t the right. We’re meddlesome.


  12. Chris Dierkes says:

    thanks. women ought to go to school and apparently I should go back and learn how to type.

    yeah bob I overdid it on earth-shattering. thanks for keeping me in check. and ralf/matoko for keeping me in (spell) check.

    I blame my proof-reader Will.Report

  13. Bob says:

    Chris, it’s my job, it’s what I do. Ask Scott.Report

  14. Chris Dierkes says:


    i too miss firefly.Report

  15. Thomas G. says:

    Well, it may have been basic but its a step up from the rhetoric of the previous occupant “Hey, some of my best friends are Muslim”Report

  16. Dan Summers says:

    With all due respect, I don’t really think it’s all that low a standard to expect the American President to go to Cairo and speak for both democracy as a movement to be supported and not suppressed, and to speak for Israel’s right to exist. That he did so in an eloquent, gracious, humble and historically-aware manner is no small thing, begging your pardon.Report

  17. matoko_chan says:

    Conservatives wilin’ out on O for even making this speech don’t get it.
    His audience is not “the muslim world”……its this world.
    Its the under-30s in every nation in MENA.
    Inshallah he will have will have the same with under-30s there as he does here.

  18. matoko_chan says:

    Same effect 😉Report

  19. matoko_chan says:

    Darn….okfine, this world.Report

  20. Chris Dierkes says:


    No need to apologize for disagreeing. Feel free to fire away. I think he did light years better than anyone else could of (personal reasons, his charisma, etc.), and in some ways George W did same some of this stuff but it didn’t wash (also for a number of reasons).

    Maybe it’s not a too low standard so much as it is a lot of cynicism?Report

  21. Bob says:

    Dan, bravo. It’s a bit of serendipity that you should mention “democracy.” Just a few minutes ago Keith Olberman branded Elisabeth Hasselbec as one of his Worst Persons in the World. The ditz, Elisabeth, castigated President Obama for “never” mentioning “democracy” in his Ciro speech. Actually Obama used the word four times. The right, and I’m including Chris here, have little, no, regard for the truth. At least Chris eventually admits his error. I see his “earth-shattering” jab as an outright attempt to belittle the president while he is on foreign soil.

    President Obama is not above criticism, I have pitched a bitch or two here myself, but I hope my bitching was biased in fact. Not Hasselbec’s outright lies, or the snark floated by Chris.Report

  22. Chris Dierkes says:


    Hold up a sec. First off I’m not a conservative. (Where’s Roque when I need him to yell at me for being some raging lefty?).

    Second, my point in this post was not to belittle the president. Whom I voted for. Gladly btw. Who I picked to be my candidate the day he announced his candidacy. And strong elements of whose foreign policy I’ve defended on this blog a number of times.

    You may have pulled a bit of your own Hasselback here.

    I see his “earth-shattering” jab as an outright attempt to belittle the president while he is on foreign soil. “

    It’s a very well written speech, expertly delivered as we know President Obama can do.”


    My snark was not aimed at the Pres but at our media and prior administrations. That was my point about how it was nice to finally enter the 21st century on this subject. I just think it’s come a tad late. Which is obviously not the current Executive’s fault.

    As in all things US politics, I think Obama is a very smart guy not a super duper genius, but very shrewd and capable. He’s playing chess against fools playing checkers (including members of his own party). I think just about everyone else in US politics is pretty much a complete or near-complete idiot–especially if they are a Republican–which (relatively speaking) makes Obama look like a super-duper ultra off the charts genius. Which again isn’t a shot at the President (I think he is a very brilliant politician, even though I disagree with some of his initiatives) just the peons who by comparison make him look like a political god.Report

  23. Katherine says:

    Still I can’t help but be amazed at how how very basic/non-crazy most of this stuff is

    You’re right. What really amazed and surprised me about the speech was that it actually conformed to the reality – historical and current – that I am aware of. That’s not something I’ve seen often before from a US President (and this isn’t a slam at Bush, it goes for many of them). The US treated Muslim nations as pawns in the Cold War; the US was involved in overthrowing a democratically-elected government in Iran; Iraq was a war of choice. I could read it without feeling I inhabited some parallel universe from the speaker.

    And I think that was part of the point. He was trying to get people to work from the same set of facts – the US has in some situations acted in imperial and undemocratic ways; Al-Qaeda was responsible for 9/11; the Holocaust occurred and has a lot to do with the mentality of Israelis. Some people in the US or Middle East would prefer not to acknowledge certain of those facts; but there’s no way to have reasonable discussions with each other unless we can actually feeling we’re inhabiting the same reality.

    I also liked the acknowledgment that you can’t impose democracy.

    I do think a couple of the things he credited the Middle East with developing/inventing may actually have been done by China.Report

  24. matoko_chan says:

    Boo@ Chris.
    Obama is a genius machiavellian pragmatist and his speeches, including this one, will studied in colleges and highschools.
    GW and the Republicans were elected on a nanowafer margin of 5 electoral votes in a time of relative peace and prosperity on culture war issues.
    It is hardly his fault that he switched into epic fail mode post 9/11…he simply wasn’t up to the job. Since then he has validated every cariacature of a superstious, unsophisticated, backwards, chauvanistic, angry, frightened and ignorant evangelical christian….. but that was hardly his fault….that was what got him elected.Report

  25. Bob says:

    Chris, You make a damn good defense for yourself, and I accept every word as true. I apologize. Just call be Elisabeth.

    I thought your comment that I objected to was saying “look how the crazy Obamacons are going nuts over this perfectly ordinary speech.”

    I was wrong, thanks for setting me straight.Report

  26. richard says:

    Still I can’t help but be amazed at how how very basic/non-crazy most of this stuff is and it speaks to how low a level we hold our politicians to that this is made to be this earth-shattering event…. spot on. also his continued use of yes we have done wrong and yes you have done wrong is growing very old.Report