Thursday, April 09, 2009

President Obama ended his European tour with an important speech and town meeting with students in Turkey (and a visit to several incredible landmarks, like the Blue Mosque pictured above right) and a quick visit to troops in Iraq, where he was greeted with enthusiasm. His speech in Turkey was amazingly deft and specific. He recognized Turkey as a secular society, yet also used his visit to further his outreach to Muslims. Overall, his trip was eye-opening, and though the Washington Post didn't seem to think any sort of Obama global strategy emerged, a lot about how he is going to operate was revealed. First, setting goals and frameworks that are bold and big: "Some people say that maybe I'm being too idealistic," Mr. Obama said. "But if we don't try, if we don't reach high, we won't make any progress." And second, he emphasizes the modesty of listening, the directness of seeking agreement and even compromise. He settled at least two disputes among G20 and NATO countries, becoming the world's conflict resolver in chief.

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