Addressing an enormous crowd at his inauguration, President Barack Obama spoke on a number of issues and told Muslims that “we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect,” a nod to international hopes that the United States will embark on a somewhat less imperial foreign policy model.
Many Muslims aren’t expecting much, particularly after three weeks of virtual silence on the war in the Gaza Strip. Obama’s promises to “reboot” Muslim relations aside, the hope that he would take a less staunchly pro-Israel approach to the situation in the Middle East seems unlikely, to say the least.
On the other hand, some Muslims still hold out hope that Obama will at the very least be “more responsible” than outgoing President Bush. Hardly a tall order, but if recent American history has taught us anything, it is to never underestimate the ability of a new president to disappoint people and lower the bar for what constitutes responsibility.