While Rush Limbaugh and the people on FOX News were in a tizzy over President Obama's landmark speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, Egypt today, I found it interesting that the consistently crazy conservative blog Hot Air described the speech as "surprisingly good." It's qualified praise, of course, but still, any praise is astonishing given the "OMG President Obama is subservient to the Saudi King!" posts of the blog's recent past.
Anyway, it's not an overstatement that President Obama's speech (which was a campaign promise) was as rhetorically brilliant and substantive as normal. I highly advise you to watch and/or read it in full here. He offered tough words to Al Qaeda (who clearly don't know how to deal with him) and those who would justify 9/11 and deny the Holocaust, while simultaneously calling on Israel to stop the expansion of settlements (and promoting a Palestinian state) and admitting the the CIA's role in deposing Mosaddeq. He calls for expanded rights for women in the Muslim world but says that while the U.S. will always promote democracy it won't force it on others. He asks Iran to stop pursuing nuclear weapons, but recognizes their right to peaceful nuclear energy and recommits to a nuclear-free world in general (could this hurt Ahmadinejad's re-election hopes? Let's hope so). Seriously, Barack Obama is so different from what we've seen before it's still, even nearly five months in now, amazing to know that he is indeed the President of the United States and is making history everyday.
Of course, U.S.-Muslim relations will not instantly be rid of tensions with one speech, but it's a damn good start and a down payment on President Obama's promise of a new foreign policy.
UPDATE: Pro-western coalition wins in Lebanon and the man expected to be the next prime minister hails President Obama's speech. Others is the Muslim world also reacted positively.