Bob Barr, the former lawmaker who led the charge for Bill Clinton’s impeachment, has an interesting column in today’s Atlanta newspaper. He lauds President Obama’s shift in tone and gives him props for doing it without abandoning U.S. ideals:
If the Obama administration follows through on the president’s vision presented last week in the centuries-old mosque, then American influence in that troubled part of the world, which has fallen dramatically in recent years, is certain to increase.
Obama began his remarks with a noticeable omission – neglecting to thank or otherwise pay homage to his host, President Hosni Mubarak – whose nearly three-decade long tenure at Egypt’s helm, is widely criticized as making a mockery of the country’s claim of democratic rule. More important was the signal this sent that his speech was not directed to Egypt alone, but to a much broader audience.
Obama devoted much of his presentation to dramatically altering the fundamental tone of American policy from one constricted by blinders, to one of openness and understanding. Importantly, the president did this without jettisoning the fundamental planks underpinning long-standing American foreign policy. Thus, even as he spoke of a “new beginning” emphasizing understanding and respect for the Muslim world, Obama unequivocally reiterated our intolerance for terrorism and violence against civilians.
And, while reminding his Egyptian audience of American’s willingness to work in cooperation with Arab governments, he made clear this “new beginning” would not come at the expense of our long-standing, “unbreakable” ties with Israel. He similarly linked understanding of and support for the aspirations of the Palestinians for a state, without undercutting Israel’s legitimate claim to statehood.
An impressive endorsement, considering the source.