More from Obama’s Turkey statements, as posted on The Atlantic:
But I also want to be clear that America’s relationship with the Muslim world cannot and will not be based on opposition to al Qaeda. Far from it. We seek broad engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect. We will listen carefully, bridge misunderstanding, and seek common ground. We will be respectful, even when we do not agree. And we will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over so many centuries to shape the world for the better — including my own country. The United States has been enriched by Muslim Americans. Many other Americans have Muslims in their family, or have lived in a Muslim-majority country — I know, because I am one of them.
The narrative of mutual respect is a powerful one. It’s a message Obama has espoused in his interview with Al Arabiya, and at various other venues. Last week he said at the G20 that the US was a peer among nations, and that he would listen, not dictate.
I have to say it’s gripping rhetoric. Many of the slights perceived in the last few years by the Arab and Islamic world were about encroaching on dignity – the violation of Iraqi sovereignty, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, expanding Israeli settlements, cartoons insulting to the Prophet Muhammad. It destroys the basis of rhetoric chastising America for its arrogant foreign policy, whose face was George W. Bush.
Mr. Obama, keep tearing down this wall.