What's the biggest mistake Barack Obama could make in his first six months in foreign policy?

Posted by David Ignatius on January 22, 2009 10:07 AM


Bashir Goth is a veteran journalist, freelance writer, the first Somali blogger and editor of a leading news website. He is also a regular contributor to major Middle Eastern and African newspapers and online journals.

Obama, Watch Your Words

Careless rhetoric was one of Bush's primary horrors, fracturing America's relations with the Muslim world. Obama must not make the same mistake.

Posted by Bashir Goth Somalia/UAE | 9 COMMENTS
Jan 23, 2009 at 11:36 AM
Sami Moubayed is a Syrian political analyst and historian based in Damascus, Syria. Moubayed is the author of "Damascus Between Democracy and Dictatorship (2000)" and "Steel & Silk: Men and Women Who Shaped Syria 1900-2000 (2006)." He has also authored a biography of Syria's former President Shukri al-Quwatli and currently serves as Associate Professor at the Faculty of International Relations at al-Kalamoun University in Syria. In 2004, he created, the first and online museum of Syrian history. He is also co-founder and editor-in-chief of FORWARD, the leading English monthly in Syria, and Vice-President of Haykal Media.

Palestinian Land, Freedom, and Justice

The Palestinian and Arab dream is not so far removed from Martin Luther King's.

Posted by Sami Moubayed Damascus, Syria | 10 COMMENTS
Jan 23, 2009 at 10:55 AM

Bring Back America's Principles

Obama's biggest mistake would be to continue with the last eight years' business-as-usual.

Posted by Mahmoud Sabit | 3 COMMENTS
Jan 23, 2009 at 10:28 AM
Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist. He was born in Jerusalem in 1955. He is a former Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University in the United States. Mr. Kuttab is the former director of the Institute of Modern Media at Al Quds University in Ramallah, Palestine and the founder of AmmanNet, the Arab world's first internet radio station. His personal web page is

Don't Continue Israel's Status Quo

Mr. President, please don't make the mistake of protecting the Israelis from their own arrogance.

Posted by Daoud Kuttab Jerusalem/Amman, Jordan | 17 COMMENTS
Jan 23, 2009 at 10:22 AM
Lamis Andoni is a Middle East consultant for Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based news station. She has been covering the Middle East for 20 years. She has reported for the Christian Science Monitor, the Financial Times and the main newspapers in Jordan. She was a professor at the Graduate School in UC Berkeley.

Don't Endorse Israel's War

Obama must show that his promise for change extends to the Middle East.

Posted by Lamis Andoni Doha, Qatar | 17 COMMENTS
Jan 23, 2009 at 10:01 AM
Dr. Ali Ettefagh serves as a director of Highmore Global Corporation, an investment company in emerging markets of Eastern Europe, CIS, and the Middle East. He is the co-author of several books on trade conflict, resolution of international trade disputes, conflicts in letters of credit, trade-related banking transactions, sovereign debt, arbitration and dispute resolutions and publications specific to the oil and gas, communication, aviation and finance sectors. Dr. Ettefagh is a member of the executive committee and the board of directors of The Development Foundation, an advisor to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and an advisor to a number of European companies. Dr. Ettefagh speaks Persian (Farsi), English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and Turkish.

Don't Blindly Follow JFK, FDR

The comparison is tempting, but America's circumstances today are too different.

Posted by Ali Ettefagh Tehran, Iran | 1 COMMENTS
Jan 22, 2009 at 9:07 AM
Originally from Pakistan, Anwer Sher is based in Dubai and writes for Gulf News, Khaleej Times and Emirates Today. His varied career experience includes banking, consulting, and real estate development. He has a Masters degree in International Relations.

Obama Must Bring Middle East to the Table

We know he's presidential material. In the next six months, he has to show that he's a world statesman, too.

Posted by Anwer Sher Dubai, UAE | 0 COMMENTS
Jan 16, 2009 at 2:29 PM
Rami George Khouri is a Palestinian-Jordanian and U.S. citizen whose family resides in Beirut, Amman, and Nazareth. He is editor at large, and former executive editor, of the Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper, published throughout the Middle East with the International Herald Tribune. An internationally syndicated political columnist and book author, he is also the first director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, and also serves as a nonresident senior fellow at the Kennedy School of Harvard University and the Dubai School of Government. He was awarded the Pax Christi International Peace Prize for 2006. He teaches annually at American University of Beirut, University of Chicago and Northeastern University. He has been a fellow and visiting scholar at Harvard University, Mount Holyoke College, Syracuse University and Stanford University, and is a member of the Brookings Institution Task Force on US Relations with the Islamic World. He is a Fellow of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (Jerusalem), and a member of the Leadership Council of the Harvard University Divinity School. He also serves on the board of the East-West Institute, the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University (USA), and the Jordan National Museum. He was editor-in-chief of the Jordan Times for seven years and for 18 years he was general manager of Al Kutba, Publishers, in Amman, Jordan, where he also served as a consultant to the Jordanian tourism ministry on biblical archaeological sites. He has hosted programs on archeology, history and current public affairs on Jordan Television and Radio Jordan, and often comments on Mideast issues in the international media. He has BA and MSc degrees respectively in political science and mass communications from Syracuse University, NY, USA.

Obama: Avoid Arrogance, Ignorance and Ordnance

Persisting in a foreign policy agenda that combines arrogance, ignorance and ordnance in a deadly combination would be Obama's worst mistake.

Posted by Rami G. Khouri Beirut, Lebanon | 5 COMMENTS
Jan 16, 2009 at 1:46 PM

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