Thursday, September 27, 2012

AJE's Tony Harris response to my Obama UN post

In response to my piece on President Obama's UN speech, Al Jazeera-English Anchor, Tony Harris, kindly posted a reply with his thoughts. See below-

Hey Tom, I enjoy reading your blog. We see eye to eye on the positives of the speech, but I'll push back a bit on your speech negatives. It is, in my view, the right and smart thing to do for the president to weigh in on the video before the world body. Because he has been willing to be, rightfully, critical of the video, he has given space to leaders and opinion makers in the muslim world to capture an important moment for this region that I now call home and reframe the discussion of what is Islam? And more importantly, point out what isn't Islam. What's happening in Benghazi, with people standing up to militias and brigades would have taken much longer to happen without the horrible events at the consulate and Obama and Clinton's, especially Clinton's strong statements. Check out Tom Friedman's most recent piece in the NYT.

As for Afghanistan, there is no feel good exit strategy for coalition forces in Afghanistan. No way to claim a victory there. To see success there as leaving behind institutions of good governance and a national Afghan identity as coalition soldiers throw packs over their backs and stride off into the sunset with waving Afghans seeing them off is out of the hollywood dream factory. Afghanistan has always been too fractious for that. From the point of view of everyone our people (AJE) talk to on all sides of this, 2014 can't come soon enough. What happens after forces leave should give everyone the cold sweats, but that day has to come. It has to.

You can follow Tony on twitter -

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