Friday, June 5, 2009

Obama's Cairo Speech

The Tyler Cowens of the world urged us to vote on foreign policy in the most recent presidential election, because on economic issues the major candidates did not differ greatly. Obama's speech last night, the text of which you can find here, is evidence to me of Obama's worth in that domain. Although his tone is optimistic, if you read carefully you will notice that he is actually scaling back foreign policy goals, a more non-interventionist approach which to me is prudent. His use of tenous moral equivalencies, like comparing the adversity that Palestinians currently face to that which once faced slaves in the American South, may have been questionable, but they painted the right empathetic picture. It is useful to maximize one's rhethorical efficacy in order to minimize the need for costly actions. Stylistically, I particularly liked how he sprinkled colons into his transition phrases, like "but let us be clear:" and "make no mistake:," which proved to be highly effective. Overall, bravo? However, David Brooks, who surely follows the issues more closely than I do, does not think so highly of the speech. So take my opinion on the matter with a grain of salt, whatever that means.