In a much-awaited speech in Cairo just now directed largely at the Muslim world, Obama has vowed to:
- shut down Guantanamo Bay by next year,
- prohibit the use of torture by the United States (what about rendition or outsourcing of torture?) and
- remove US troops from Iraq by 2012 (what about the large permanent or “enduring” US bases it has built?).
- seek a world in which no nation holds nuclear weapons.
He has also pledged to work for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate. He has called for the Palestinians to “abandon violence” – without issuing a similar call to the Israelis. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements, he adds – but what about existing settlements?
I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.
The full text of Obama’s speech can be found here.