Editor's Choice Archive 1

The Mind of Obama and the Speech in Cairo


By Patricia Keegan

No intelligent being could listen to a speech by President Barak Obama and not be intrigued by the richness of his thought processes. Although I favored Hillary's realism and experience over Obama's idealism, that has changed. When I listen to what Obama is trying to accomplish, I am convinced it comes from a strong desire to take a fresh approach to the world's problems. I see him as courageous, with a unique approach to each challenge.

He demonstrates the laser concentration and analytic approach of one who feels he can untie the Gordian knot. The knot that represents the difficult, the intractable, the insolvable problem. According to ancient Greek legend, Alexander the Great slashed through the knot with his sword and was rewarded with Asia. But that was cheating. Obama wants to find the ends and untie it thoughtfully. His aim is to find common ground in a more rational world.

If I were a visitor from another planet and didn't feel so deeply involved with the high stakes of confronting and untangling these complex knots, I would just sit back and enjoy the show.

Barack Obama seems to be on a mission to follow truth no matter where it leads. Indeed, this should be the logical approach for a new president as he wades into international waters. In this era of instant communication and openness, it seems appropriate for a newly elected American president to go on a world tour telling the public where he stands on major international issues, otherwise they would expect the status quo.

In the past we have seen former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice shuttling back and forth across the world without the public ever really knowing the major goals were or what was being accomplished. We know President Barack Obama wants to give the world his best gift -- the audacity of hope!

This is a new age with the clock ticking down on approaching disasters -- the myriad effects of climate change which are considered almost out of our control, and nuclear proliferation which is barely controllable. Then there are the weak governments and failed states and the dire predictions of clashing civilizations.

So when Barack Obama contemplates his major tasks, it is his innate quality of hope and optimism that gives him the “audacity” to try counteracting this wave of pessimism by letting the world know and better understand American principles. Once he has told the world where we stand as Americans- has reached out the hand of friendship and follows his words with the implementation of his ideas, he can then fulfill his leadership role with a clear conscience. He will know he was true, not only to himself, but also to the promise the Founding Fathers laid out in the Declaration of Independence.

Thomas Jefferson, chief author of the Declaration, spoke of its fulfillment in the Constitution by saying, “Preserve inviolate the Constitution which, if cherished in all its chastity and purity, will prove in the end a blessing to all the nations of the earth.”

Speech in Cairo, June 4, 2009

In his New Beginning speech in Cairo, reaching out to the Islamic world, President Obama spoke of America’s early link with Islam: “The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President, John Adams, wrote, The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility of Muslims.”

Obama went on to say that since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. “They have fought in our wars, served in our government, and have stood for civil rights, they have taught at our universities, excelled in our sports arenas, won Noble Prizes, built our tallest building, lit the Olympic Torch and when the first Muslim American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of the Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, kept in his personal library.”

The Israeli/Palestine conflict is the #1 Gordian knot that no American president has been able to untie. President Obama left no question that he wants to see justice on both sides. He presented a new image of America, with a more even-handed approach to the conflict. He is firm about a two state solution and no more settlements. The next few weeks should show the effect of his words.

If he opted to stay in the White House and not confront these problems head-on, I believe they would continue to fester with more and more lives lived in hopeless conditions of chaos, terror and fear.

In his Cairo speech Mr. Obama said Iraq was a war of “choice,“ and how events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and to build international consensus whenever possible.

I don’t think any American wants to ever again witness the atrocities precipitated by that pre-emptive strike.

On the economic front Obama wants to create more partnerships. He points to education and innovation as the currency of the 21st century, yet sees too many Muslim communities remaining underinvested in this area. On education he wants to expand exchange programs and increase scholarships. This year he will host aSummit on Entrepreneurship to find out how to deepen ties between business leaders of countries.

Given his balance between EQ (Emotional Intelligence), and IQ (Intelligent Quotient), Barack Obama appears to see the world, with all its problems, as an overall decent place where people, regardless of color or creed basically try to do what is best for themselves and their families, and where common ground can be found and nurtured.

The calming voice of the new President of the United States helps the world to understand more about his leadership, gauge his sincerity, and see if he can influence for good their own governments and their own futures.

Solomon once said; “Where there is no vision the people perish.“ From the mind of President Obama comes a new vision for the world. Enchalla! God willing!