For a stronger Year Two

A year ago today, Israelis watched US President Barack Obama deliver his inaugural address just as Operation Cast Lead was concluding.

January 20, 2010 00:15
1 minute read.
For a stronger Year Two

obama curtain 298.88. (photo credit: AP)

A year ago today, Israelis watched US President Barack Obama deliver his inaugural address on the West Front of the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC., as Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip was - not coincidentally -  concluding.

Regardless of their political views, they looked to the new leader of the free world with a healthy mix of dread and hope, knowing that some of what he would say and do could have as much impact on Israel and other Middle Eastern nations as on America.

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Obama did not mention Israel in his address, but he did devote a good portion of the speech to matters that concern us. Notably, he offered an outstretched hand to the Muslim world, accompanied by a warning.

The stick was delivered eloquently: "For those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that, 'Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.'"

He promised that "With old friends and former foes, we'll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat."

For the carrot, he said: "To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect."

And he summarized his doctrine of engagement by saying: "To all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more."

ONE YEAR later, the great expectations that Obama set for himself in this sphere, and that others placed in him, lie largely unfulfilled.

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