Twice during the past week senior United States officials have let it be known that the Barack Obama administration has chosen to adopt a highly selective approach to the ferment in the Middle East.
The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton couched the message in appropriate diplomatic idiom in Washington last Tuesday in a speech at a gala dinner celebrating the US-Islamic World Forum before an audience of dignitaries from the Middle East includingthe foreign ministers of Qatar and Jordan and the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Conference.
Clinton acknowledged that the ”long Arab winter has begun to thaw” and after many decades, a ”real opportunity for lasting change” has appeared before the Arab people. It, in turn, raises ”significant questions” but it is not for the US to provide all the answers. ”In fact, here in Washington we’re struggling to thrash out answers to our own difficult political and economic questions,” she said.