Remember President Barack Obama’s first major address abroad? It was in June 2009 at Cairo University, when U.S. ties with the Muslim world were in serious need of repair. If any American leader could help engineer a course correction, it was Barack Hussein Obama. The president told his audience: “I’ve come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect.”
It was a great speech, one of Obama’s best. In a way, it was Obama’s version of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, keyed to U.S.-Muslim relations rather than race relations in the United States. Unfortunately, the president’s hopes have been dashed by events well beyond Washington’s ability to shape, let alone control, the Muslim world. Egypt is a mess, Syria is in a far worse condition, and the problems are spreading.
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This op-ed was first published in International Business Times on September 9, 2013
Photo by fredmalm via flickr