A beautiful, idealistic vision that was difficult to implement.
Obama’s foreign policy for the Muslim world, which was completely presented at Cairo University in 2009, is a perfect idealistic vision about two worlds, the U.S. and the Muslim world. However, it was difficult to implement. It was correct for this policy’s direction, destination, and premier solution, but it is a long process and full of difficulties to realize it.
At first, President Obama recognized the essence of this issue. Except for religious differences, the key obstacle is the difference in political system and value. Realizing two worlds' confluence and reducing the gap is the ultimate solution. So, Obama wanted to promote the Muslim world’s democracy, religious freedom, women's rights, and economic development. If the Muslim world has an analogous status and system with American politics and economics, the two worlds will achieve long-term peace and cooperation like the relationship between the EU and the U.S. After Obama’s Cairo speech, America began to promote democracy and liberty to the Muslim world, meanwhile, the revolution, “Spring of Arab”, broke out in the Muslim world. Americans felt hopeful about the Spring of Arab at first, however, it led to chaos, disorder, and cruel dictatorship like Syria at last. Therefore, it’s impossible to realize democracy in the Muslim world in short term.
Also, Obama knew the three key conflicts between the two worlds; terrorists in Afghanistan, Israel fights with Palestinian, and nuclear weapons in Iran. He wants to use more peaceful soft power to address these troubles through dialogue, withdrawal of the military, and positive compromise. His wish was good because the Muslim world has been tiresome for the hard power of the U.S., but he underrated the importance of hard power. For example, Obama said in his speech that he would close the prison at Guantanamo Bay soon, but the prison hasn’t closed until now. If U.S. troops swiftly withdrawal completely from Afghanistan, the new democratic government won’t be protected. On the contrary, the long-term military deployment ensured the security of the South Korean and Japanese democratic governments. The Iran nuclear agreement is correct, but the U.S. should monitor the implementation of the agreement and shouldn't give up sanctions and hard power's punishments. It is right to recognized and help the Palestinian government, but the U.S. should protect its geopolitical interests in Israel and should suppress the terrorists in Palestine.
Last, President Obama lacks complete strategy and effective tools to implement his beautiful vision. In fact, the U.S. has no comprehensive proposal, strategy, or alliance to promote democracy and freedom in the Muslim world, so the Spring of Arab has ultimately lost control because the U.S. had no response for countermeasures. In other issues, like Afghanistan, Palestine, and Iran, the Obama administration only maintained present status and didn't improve the situation because of shortages in policy tools.
Obama’s vision about a new beginning with the Muslim world is attractive and remarkable. Additionally, his approach through dialogue, reconciliation, compromise, and soft power, was nearly accurate. If he seriously confronts this issue and implements a complete long-term strategy and smart power, the relationship between the Muslim world and the U.S. would greatly improve. As a Chinese Confucian philosopher said, “easy to know and hard to do.”
President Barack Obama's remarks at the University of Cairo on June 4, 2009