I saw at Atlas Shrugs that Obama is going to make a foreign policy speech in an Islamic capital in his first 100 days. I wanted to write about it then, but with three young kids, bath time came first. Today I see Allahpundit at Hot Air addressed it as well.
It seems the question has come down to which city to make this address. The New York Times‘ Helene Cooper reports on the possibilities:
So where should he do it? The list of Islamic world capitals is long, and includes the obvious –Riyadh, Kuwait City, Islamabad — and the not-so-obvious — Male (the Maldives), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Tashkent (Uzbekistan). Some wise-guys have even suggested Dearborn, Mich., as a possibility.
Clearly it would be cheating for Mr. Obama to fly to Detroit, talk to Dearborn’s 30,000 Arab residents and call it a day. And Male and Ouagadougou, while certainly majority Muslim, can’t really be what Mr. Obama’s aides have in mind when they talk about locales for a high-profile speech that would seek to mend rifts between the United States and the broader Muslim world.
So Burkina Faso and the Maldives are out. But that leaves a whole swath of Islamic capitals, all ready to be spruced up for Mr. Obama to make his speech. I’ve thought hard about this, and asked a few people — diplomats even — which capital Mr. Obama should pick.
The consensus, after an entire day of reporting, is Cairo.
This entire thing is an awful idea. To make a significant foreign policy speech in his first 100 days in an Islamic capital for only the symbolism does nothing useful for our country. It does not put him or us in a position of strength, but makes us look weak and in need of Islam’s approval. Any sign of weakness will encourage radical jihadis to try harder to attack us.
If, however, he insists on doing this thing, then the only possible location is Baghdad, where our troops removed Saddam Hussein and defeated al Qaeda. Cooper argued that choosing Baghdad would be a problem for Obama because it would validate the Iraq war, which he opposed. I disagree. Going to Baghdad wouldn’t validate the war since it’s essentially over, but it would validate the Democratically elected government. With all the money and human life we spent to free the Iraqis from tyranny, to not go to Baghdad would be a terrible slap in the face to our country, our troops, and their efforts.