Every new president flatters himself that he, kinder and gentler, is beginning the world anew. Yet, when Barack Obama in his inaugural address reached out to Muslims by saying “to the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect,” his formulation was needlessly defensive and apologetic.
By Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post
Is it “new” to acknowledge Muslim interests and show respect to the Muslim world? Obama doesn’t just think so, he said so again to millions in his al-Arabiya interview, insisting on the need to “restore” the “same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago.”
Astonishing. In these most recent 20 years — the alleged winter of our disrespect of the Islamic world — America did not just respect Muslims, it bled for them. It engaged in five military campaigns, every one of which involved — and resulted in — the liberation of a Muslim people: Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.
From the Heritage Foundation:
President Obama offered a new tone but little substance. He proclaimed that “we are ready to initiate a new partnership based on mutual respect and mutual interest.” But he displayed amazing naivete in defining what those common interests are, suggesting that al-Qaeda leaders “seemed nervous” because their ideas are bankrupt: “There’s no actions that they’ve taken that say a child in the Muslim world is getting a better education because of them, or has better health care because of them.”
This statement reveals an enormous misunderstanding of the ideological roots of Islamist terrorism and a shocking lack of respect for the powerful motivating force of the idea of jihad for al-Qaeda supporters. The President implies that a better education policy or health care plan will inevitably doom al-Qaeda, as if that terrorist network is competing like a political party to benefit Muslim voters rather than trying to violently impose its radical ideas on people that it views as misguided Muslims.