Diplomacy and Democracy in the Muslim World

The Christian Science Monitor says Obama needs to follow up his rhetorical overtures to the Islamic world with concrete policy shifts. “Hard policy choices lie ahead that are bound to inflame Muslims and non-Muslims, depending on the path taken. Should the US talk to Hamas? Should it cease antiterrorism airstrikes on Pakistani soil, as most Pakistanis want? How should it proceed with Iran?” The Monitor says Islamic societies will have to make adjustments themselves, by undertaking reforms based on “principles of self-government, liberty, and individual rights.”

But in an op-ed in the same paper, Walter Rodgers, a former CNN correspondent, argues that the U.S. must scale back its global ambitions to match its declining power, and that means acknowledging that “the Western democratic model has no appeal to much of the Arab world. … It’s time to lower our geopolitical sights and end America’s unrealistic crusade. We shouldn’t expect ‘them’ to want to be like ‘us.'”