Obama and the Muslim World - New Relationship or New Rhetoric?

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Ben Cohen
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By Ben Cohen

Perhaps it is because I am deeply cynical when it comes to politicians and their rhetoric, or maybe I'm just plain pessimistic, but I really don't see why everyone is lauding Obama's 'new message' to the Muslim world as a radical change from the previous Administration's. Obama recently told the Turkish parliament that the U.S was 'Not at war with Islam', and that 'America's relationship with the Muslim world cannot and will not be based on opposition to al-Qaeda.'

George Bush routinely stated that the United States was not a war with Islam, and always told the Muslim countries how much he respected their religion.

To be fair, Obama has been striking a very different tone from his predecessor George Bush on his recent world tour. I thought his willingness to listen in Europe, and statesman like behavior when dealing with the G20 leaders was admirable and probably went a long way in repairing badly damaged relations. However, the fact that Obama has just committed more troops to another war with a Muslim nation, and doesn't seem to be too hurried about bringing the troops in Iraq home, the rhetoric is all hot air until it is met with action.

Obama has promised serious negotiations with Iran, and had pledged outreach programs around the Middle East, but as yet, we haven't seen anything concrete. It's early days, and I'm probably being too critical too early on, but with continued aggression in the region, it's hard to see why we should take Obama at his word. I hope I'm wrong.

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