The issues will revolve around the various speeches, around what was said by one leader and how another leader responded.
But there are other clues by which to rate Obama's trip, some subtle and even debatable.
Jay Nordlinger writes about one such subtle hint as to Obama being oblivious to the implications not of what he said, but of where he said it, when Obama agreed to speak under the smiling picture of Arafat:
Today, the president of the United States spoke under a big, smiling picture of Yasser Arafat. I just want to say a quick word about this — there are many things to say, but here is one:
An American ambassador, Cleo Noel, was killed on direct orders from Arafat. That was in Khartoum, in 1973. The late Vernon Walters once told me that he personally listened to the intercepts. Walters was a top official in the CIA at the time.
I once had an opportunity to ask a former director of the Mossad, Efraim Halevy, “Why doesn’t my country hold it against Arafat that he had our ambassador murdered?” (During the eight years of Clinton, Arafat was the most frequent foreign visitor to the White House.) Halevy said, “I don’t know.”
There are many things you have to do in this tricky, wicked world, to get by. Diplomacy and politics require a lot of nose-holding, in addition to hand-holding. But it seems to me an American president ought to be able to avoid speaking under a big, adulatory picture of Arafat — murderer of Ambassador Cleo Noel and many, many others.
|A photo from 2010
But when trying to gauge the sincerity of the words of Obama, one tends to look at the actions that can provide a hint as to how to judge those words.
Does Obama really understand what terrorism is and how the US has suffered from it?
And if he does not really get it, does he get how Israel has suffered from terrorism and how its security is at stake?
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