All You Arabs, Back Under The Thumbs

You may have noticed the President gave an interview to Al-Arabiya recently. In which he said among other things:
my job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives. My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy. We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect. But if you look at the track record, as you say, America was not born as a colonial power, and that the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there's no reason why we can't restore that.

Eh? That first statement comports with President Bush's view, but I don't think you'll find PR for Muslims in the job description for President of the United States, actually, comb the Constitution as you will. No penumbrae emanate from any amendments, even.

More substantively, however, what on earth can he be thinking of --partnership with the Arab world of 30 years ago? Partnership with Saddam Hussein, perhaps? Fouad Ajami comments in a terrific column:

Take that image of Saddam Hussein, flushed out of his spider hole some five years ago: Americans may have edited it out of their memory, but it shall endure for a long time in Arab consciousness. Rulers can be toppled and brought to account. No wonder the neighboring dictatorships bristled at the sight of that capture, and at his execution three years later.

The irony now is obvious: George W. Bush as a force for emancipation in Muslim lands, and Barack Hussein Obama as a messenger of the old, settled ways. Thus the "parochial" man takes abroad a message that Muslims and Arabs did not have tyranny in their DNA, and the man with Muslim and Kenyan and Indonesian fragments in his very life and identity is signaling an acceptance of the established order.