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.

obama curtain 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
obama curtain 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Ayear ago today, Israelis watched US President Barack Obama deliver hisinaugural address on the West Front of the US Capitol Building inWashington, DC., as Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip was - notcoincidentally -  concluding.
Regardless of their politicalviews, they looked to the new leader of the free world with a healthymix of dread and hope, knowing that some of what he would say and docould have as much impact on Israel and other Middle Eastern nations ason America.
Obama did not mention Israel in his address, but hedid 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.
Thestick was delivered eloquently: "For those who seek to advance theiraims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you nowthat, 'Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlastus, 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 whoare watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small villagewhere my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nationand 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 greatexpectations that Obama set for himself in this sphere, and that othersplaced in him, lie largely unfulfilled.