We used to be friends?

Charles Krauthammer questions Obama's supposedly novel approach to international relations

In his inaugural address, Barack Obama promised “the Muslim world” he would “seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.” Then, in his interview with al-Arabiya, Obama insisted on the need to “restore” the “same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago.” Do the U.S. president’s remarks represent the first few steps on a bold and innovative path? Hardly, argues Charles Krauthammer in a column for the Washington Post. To start, the U.S. relationship with the Muslim world over the past few decades has been decidedly one-sided, according to Krauthammer. All five military interventions the U.S. has participated in over that time have involved the “liberation of a Muslim people” and the very fact of Obama’s election—”our first president of Muslim parentage”—shows just how benevolent Americans have been, even in the wake of 9/11. Meanwhile, these past 30 years have seen the Muslim world repeatedly rebuke the U.S—from the attack on the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979, to the Arab oil embargo earlier that same decade, to the anti-American riots of recent years, there are simply no “halcyon days of U.S.-Islamic relations” to speak of, writes Krauthammer. “It is both false and deeply injurious to this country to draw a historical line dividing America under Obama from a benighted past when Islam was supposedly disrespected and demonized.”

The Washington Post