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4:28PM

Esquire's The Politics Blog: Obama's Middle East Speech Text, Decoded Line-by-Line

Expectations couldn't have been lower for President Obama's Middle East speech on Thursday, and yet it was a work of "realist" beauty that recognized: a) how little influence America actually has over these types of events, and b) where we stand at the beginning of what is likely to be a long process of political upheaval and — hopefully — economic reform that addresses the underlying issues driving the entire region. Yes, Obama took a pass on Palestine and Israel (his historic referencing of Israel's pre-'67 borders is the Mideast equivalent of a "world without nuclear weapons"), but he's got several touch points in the coming days (the Netanyahu meeting, another speech, Netanyahu's speech to Congress) with which to address that, so this was more of a broad-strokes laying out as to what America stands for, and what it's willing to do amidst its current fiscal realities. And — again — it was a great mix of stated idealism, expressed in long-haul terms, and political pragmatism that recognizes the here-and-now realities that must temper any sense of America coming to anybody else's immediate rescue.

Obama's was a well-crafted message — one that reassured both the world and Americans that this administration knows its limits and its responsibilities to history. It was, in a word, presidential.

And now, so you don't have to sit through it again, a little deconstruction of the most compelling sections excerpted (from the prepared remarks) at length....

Read the entire post at Esquire's The Politics Blog.


Reader Comments (3)

That was a really interesting analysis. I had figured that Mitchell quit because The Egyptians and the Syrians and even the Saudis were too busy worrying about rioting citizens to pay any attention to his sales pitch on Palestine. It never occurred to me that he might have found that the White House had given up on the issue. Well, you can't control everything (cut to video of Mississippi River flowing over levees) and we need someone to say so, even if they say it in code.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTed O'Connor

Obama is a realist.He'll shove anyone under the ME bus as soon as they wobble if it helps him validate his peace prize....but not before.
Thats why I like him.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJavaid Akhtar

An amusing and enlightening analysis of the speech. Especially the analysis of the core interests. I agree in all points, but on the Palestine question I am not sure.Obama┬┤s proposal to have a state-solution in the borders of 1967 means putting pressure on Israel. Bibi was very angry about this and said that an Israel with 67 borders was "indefensable". However, that Mitchell resigned may be an indicator that he expected no progress and/ or no real support by the US goverment.AND: What will Obama do besides raising demands? There will be no real US sanctions against Israel.And Tom Barnett may be right: There will be no new US peace plan.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRalf Ostner

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