Obama an 'International President' for Muslims

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Washington, Nov 20: Prof John Esposito, a leading US expert on Islam, has reportedly said that the US President-elect Barack Obama has been welcomed worldover as an 'internationalist President', contrary to George W Bush who, according to him, is often regarded as a 'swaggering Texas cowboy'.

Esposito said that Obama's foreign policy will be expected to be all the things that many in the Muslim world saw as lacking in the Bush administration, which was viewed as "neo-colonial, unilateral, arrogant, militant and interventionist". "An Obama administration will be expected to be multilateral, favouring diplomacy over military threats and intervention, and avoiding what many believe was a neo-colonialist American foreign policy whose verbal commitment to democracy promotion and human rights was hypocritical. Obama's administration cannot, like Bush's, fail to 'walk the way it talks'," the Daily Times quoted him as saying.

Esposito further said that the Bush administration continued to look the other way in its relations with authoritarian Muslim allies. "It refused to accept the election of Hamas, and while it condemned Hizbollah, it sat on the sidelines as Israel carpet-bombed Lebanon, destroying much of its infrastructure in a war whose victims were overwhelmingly civilians," he said and added: "Many Muslims today expect Obama to live up to the principles of self-determination, justice and human rights that they associate with America and break with the Bush administration's double standard in not promoting democracy and human rights in the Middle East."

"Esposito points out that most Muslims, like Westerners, are deeply concerned about religious extremism and terrorism, considering that the majority of attacks and victims have been in the Muslim world. For most Muslims, who admire the West's freedoms, technologies, and rule of law, the major issues are respect for Islam and Muslims. Many will be looking for an American administration that emphasises diplomacy and dialogue," he concluded.


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