Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Obama UN Speech


I was very anticipatory for the speech. Following Obama over years, it was obvious that this was his moment. Unusual, but Obama shines when he makes a genuine efforts to 'see hope for all of us' on a backdrop of a tragedy; in this case tragedy in Benghazi. This speech is vintage Obama in that sense. Folks are decent not to say it in public, but Obama is one of the best 'mourner-in-chief' America has seen in years; the guy knows how to start the process of healing, how to make tentative attempts to connect to 'others' while delivering the tough love; how to undertake public catharsis. 

Simplistically, the cadence, word play and thematic structure of the speech resembles a African American Clergy style. I like that, people appreciate it and Obama delivers it great; just re-read the last part of the speech.

Add to it one spoon of Constitutional Lawyer Background and another spoon of a politician who successfully sells augments on hustings, starting with weaving the whole speech as a story telling of Chris, the slain USA ambassador. That is the recipe of high caliber Obama Speech. 

What was the Clinton Speech to DNC, Obama Speech to UN is. (Obama's DNC speech was a wash...) Obama is made to deliver such speeches, possibly very few today in the world can bring that much credibility when he stood on that UN General Assembly Podium. 

Substance - Mandela quote: check, Gandhi quote: check, talking about daughters: check. If this was the speech Bush had given just after Lebanese Seder Revolution (high point of Rice-Bush Freedom Agenda); American Right would have gone all gaga. Coming from Indian background, reading Obama's Speech; what struck me most was what a vast 'scope' he encompassed willingly and effectively delivered on the topic of Universal Freedom. American Media, even enlightened ones like NYT Editorial and WaPo Editorial; were all stuck with how Obama defended the freedom of speech from American point of view, how he vowed to bring justice to murderers of Chris and how tough of a warning he issued to Iran. Those all are valid points and no doubt are the first priority from American perspective. But while doing that, one does not get a sense that American Media has got the whole later part of the speech where Obama daringly attempts to continue his Cairo Dialogue with Muslim countries, other under developed countries, new democracies and all those other countries which are not that 'sexy' on American TV to talk about. That is good, hard 'sale' of Universal values of Freedom and Tolerance Obama undertakes on global scale

Effect - American Public for sure got what they wanted to hear from their president. Rest of the world - the message is that given an opportunity Obama still wants to continue on the road of Cairo Path; but without keeping aside his 'hefty stick' (he will not hesitate to use force at right time). Perhaps, this is all laying grounds for his diplomacy in the second term if Americans re-elect him.

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