President Obama Should Appear on Al Jazeera


al jazeera.jpgAs I watch Al Jazeera and its reporting inspire and inform people across the Arabic world — and educate many English-speaking people who are stuck to their TVs, I think it becomes increasingly clear and obvious that Barack Obama has made a mistake not himself appearing on this network.
It’s time that President Obama spoke to the Arab-speaking Middle East through Al Jazeera. They are watching and want to know where America is going and how it sees things.
It’s important for this part of the world to hear more about the principles of reform, respect for human rights, and non-violence that Barack Obama has made the pillars of his emerging doctrine.
— Steve Clemons


8 comments on “President Obama Should Appear on Al Jazeera

  1. Robert Easton says:

    Perhaps Obama’s appearance on AlJazeera would encourage American cable TV providers to actually carry the station. It’s some of the best English-speaking news we get in the Middle East (Beirut), and I’m sad that most of America doesn’t see it.


  2. WigWag says:

    It would make me very happy if President Obama appeared on on Al Jazeera.


  3. la.politique says:

    Would Al Jazeera really want him? Why? To tell the brave protesters who faced bullets and are facing bullets and missiles that he is asking their leaders!!! ( a.k.a dictators ) to “restrain” themselves? He has no credibility left with me and for sure, with the masses in the middle east demanding their basic rights.


  4. Martha Nakajima says:

    I find myself increasingly watching Aljezeera English not only for Arab world stories but other news from developing countries which is hardly covered by the Western networks.


  5. jon says:

    Al Jazeera has broadcasted Obama’s speeches and press
    conferences when he has spoken on Events in Egypt and
    It would be a mistake for Obama to make a special appearance
    to speak to the Arab world. The US is constrained in its actions
    and the potential downside is greater than the upside. Yes,
    there are arabs asking, “Why is the US just standing by?”. But
    many more are highly suspicious of US motives and would
    consider any greater action to be meddling in their internal
    affairs. The US right would also crucify him for it.
    What Obama can do is to be clear that the US values good
    relations with every Arab country and supports the aspirations of
    their people towards greater freedom and democracy. He can
    offer assistance to assist that transition to civil governance,
    much as the US has already offered to Egypt.
    THE US can also continue to apply encouragement and pressure
    out of public view to push regimes towards making transitional
    steps before events grow out of control. Many of the Middle
    East’s rulers should think hard about whether they would like to
    be remembered as a deposed despot, or as a national father who
    brought peace and freedom the his people – and finished his
    days as an adored elder.


  6. pangloss says:

    Obama, speaking again I think would be a mistake. Lots of us
    now think what Adam Shatz recently wrote in the LRB : “the
    grandeur of Obama’s rhetoric barely masks the poverty of his
    vision” and most time he opens his mouth this becomes just so
    much more evident.
    Besides he has an election to win in 2012 to avoid being
    considered a failure.


  7. JohnH says:

    What could Obama possibly have to say on Al Jazeera? “Change you can believe in” resonates with the discordance of Biden’s “Mubarak is not a dictator,” or Hillary’s “democracy is thriving in Bahrain.”
    If Obama were to speak of democracy, he would be derided and jeered, for Arabs have heard this song before.
    Obama has no credibility and no inclination to constructive engagement in the ME. His best bet is to shut up and keep his hypocrisy to himself.


  8. DonS says:

    Leaving aside the question of whether Obama’s “emerging doctrine” is backed up by anything other than words, selectively applied, there is another thing that strikes me. That is the hay that would be made by the right wing talk machine, and very possibly the AIPAC lobbying machine if Obama chose to appear on Al Jezeera.
    But I’d have to agree it would be the right thing to do, venal politics aside, if there is to be any validity to the rhetoric about engagement with the Arab and Muslim world. Actually, from the point of view of integrity, it’s long overdue. Al Jezeera has more than proven it’s importance. I wonder what kind of contact with the WH has happened, if any?


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