In June 2009, President Obama gave a candid and powerful speech in Cairo in which he openly addressed traditionally divisive issues between the United States and Muslim-majority countries. Many believed that the Cairo speech could mark the beginning of a new era in U.S.-Muslim world relations, as President Obama appeared optimistic and hopeful in how the United States and Muslim countries could improve relations. Stephen Grand, Brookings fellow and director of the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, noted last summer that “only time will tell if the United States can pursue policies in this part of the world that live up to its values while at the same time advancing its interests.”
Now, eight months after the Cairo speech, where do we stand? There are still a multitude of issues and conflicts the administration faces, including the nuclear standoff with Iran, tensions in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On Wednesday, March 10, Stephen Grand participated in a live web chat about President Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world. David Mark, senior editor at POLITICO, moderated the discussion.
“The 21st century has revalued these small geographies. That’s what the 21st century demands,” Katz said, noting that these days, “[w]e aren’t innovating in isolated business parks” in the suburbs.