Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Obama's Napoleon Complex..........

by Janet Crain
Does President Obama have a Napoleon Complex? It would appear likely. In 1798, Napoleon declared he had "more respect" than the local Egyptian rulers did "for your God, his prophet and the Qur'an."

Usually this Complex happens to short men. But in his case it has more to do with wanting to be seen as the Superman who saved the World. Maybe it's a Superman Complex.

Howard Fineman writes for Newsweek:
In the diplomatic community, there is little doubt the president is doing the right thing in Cairo. "President Bush liked to talk about our shared values, but it came off as didactic," said Tamara Wittes of the Brookings Institution. "His escalating series of military interventions left people in Muslim-majority countries feeling imposed upon. Obama's speech is a game-changer, because he's going to say that we are partners and equals."

That is nice, and who could argue with its value? But let's not underestimate the risks, large and small. This sounds picayune, but Obama and his speechwriters had better be careful. A single faulty reference will subject his whole speech to ridicule by the conservative scholars whom the president aims to neutralize. People will expect Obama, unlike Bush, to know what he's talking about.

Tone is crucial as well, and is hard to finesse in any foreign land, let alone in Egypt: so ancient, so proud of its past, so layered with social ritual and resentments. Obama is aware of the problem, but Islamist bloggers already are lying in wait, and already derisively compare him to Napoleon, who prepared his invasion of Egypt in 1798 by declaring he had "more respect" than the local rulers did "for your God, his prophet and the Qur'an."

A bigger risk is that the incorrigibles in the neighborhood—the true terrorists—will see him as a naif and be emboldened by that thought. But the biggest danger for Obama is that he will become a prisoner of his own words, and the high expectations they create. The human-rights community expects him to reflect its concerns about political repression. Palestinians will want him to address the running sore of Gaza, at least. Announcing student exchanges or new development programs won't be enough. "I'm sure he'll give a fine speech," said John Esposito, an expert on Islam at Georgetown University. "The better it is, the more action people will expect. People are getting very tired of words."

But not Obama. The man is just gearing up. Count me as skeptical. I know that words worked for him in Philly, but in Cairo they will merely be the beginning—not the end—of the story.

Fineman is Newsweek's Senior Washington Correspondent and an analyst for MSNBC.

© 2009

© Janet Crain

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keyboard.jockey said...


Islam is always spread at the end of a sword.

That can't be overcome, now can Obama use his cult of personality to peal off the folks in the Middle East that are like their American Counter parts...moved superficially by political pandering? Perhaps but what will those same people do if we are attacked inside the U.S. by Al Qeada again...nothing they are afraid, they are the same kind of people who think you can appease evil. I remember when the West tried to appease Hitler. Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Did Obama's speech slow anything in the works down or buy us some time? I see the charm offensive for what it is but it doesn't work on extremist they are already bent to violence, and they can't be turned.

keyboard.jockey said...


Cinie's take on the Cairo Speech.

This is interesting Highly
recommend this read because it isn’t being discussed anywhere I have
been reading about the Cairo Speech. When Did Obama become Spokesman in
Chief for Islam, where is that in the Job description of the United
States of America President?

When did it become his DUTY to knock down negative attacks on Islam? Somebody dust off the constitution, the ACTING President needs to have it read to him...maybe someone could load the U.S. Constitution into TOTUS?