Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Obamawatch: Interview with Arab TV

Posted by sanityinjection on January 27, 2009

President Obama gave the first formal TV interview of his Presidency to the Arab satellite TV network al-Arabiya. In the interview, Obama told Muslims that “Americans are not your enemy” and called for a new relationship “based on mutual respect and mutual interest.”

Oh, good. Now that we got that cleared up, let’s cure cancer.

I don’t have a problem with Obama doing this interview. It makes for good PR. I just hope he’s not naive enough to believe his own rhetoric – that the Arab world is going to come around just because we talk nice.

The truth is that a significant segment of the Arab world not only hates America – they enjoy hating America. It’s a nice escape from the frustrations of their daily lives. It feels good to blame the Americans for everything. And the Arab governments which claim to be our friends quietly encourage their people to continue blaming us and hating us because it distracts them from blaming and hating their governments.

The US and Arab countries do not have “mutual respect and mutual interest.” They think we’re corrupt, immoral, and arrogant. We think they’re backward, cruel and intolerant. (Here’s a secret: They’re right about us and we’re right about them.) That’s not a good basis for a productive relationship.

In fact, the only reason we ever developed a relationship with the Arab world is that we wanted their oil and they wanted protection. That is the true basis for our interactions. In the 21st century, however, there are other countries who can and will develop and buy Arab oil, just as we are confronting the need for alternative fuel sources. So the motivation on each side to continue the relationship is waning.

Now granted, Obama can’t come out and say any of this stuff in an interview. I’m just hoping that, behind closed doors, he knows it.


3 Responses to “Obamawatch: Interview with Arab TV”

  1. Tubby said

    All I can say is, you paint a pretty polarized, bleak picture. I realize you are depicting the extreme facets of the American and Arab cultures, but I believe doing so does our respective countries a disservice. I think Obama knows that the groundwork you describe exists; however, I don’t think he believes it has to stay that way. Also, it obviously depends on who you are talking about. It seems you are thinking primarily of Iran, when you make your statements.

    • sanityinjection said

      Actually, I wasn’t thinking of Iran. Iran is not an Arab country.

      Ironically, Iran is the opposite of what I’m talking about. Most Arab governments are (at least publicly) friendly to the US while their people hate us. Iran, on the other hand, has a government that is openly hostile to the US while their people, for the most part, actually like Americans. On average, Iranians have access to better education than Arabs do and are less apt to believe their own government’s propaganda. (It’s not a coincidence that most protests and demonstrations in Iran have been led by students.)

  2. sanityinjection said

    Victor Davis Hanson echoes some of my comments in his latest column:

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