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As you know, Jay, I am not unsympathetic to the plight of the many of the people you represent around the world. There are strong human rights arguments to be made in asylum cases in Europe–and frankly strong ones to be made in the United States as well.
However, tomorrow’s speech by the President in Cairo is probably not the time or place to highlight with great specificity religious persecution in the Islamic world. I would expect him to do what he did in Turkey earlier this year: explain that the United States is committed to democracy and religious freedom and expect those principles to be exemplars to the rest of the world. The President noted at that time: “I’ve said before that one of the great strengths of the United States is- although as I mentioned we have a very large Christian population- we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation, or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.”
I know that some on the Right did not like the President’s comments, because they do think this is a Christian nation, which of course it is not.
The Cairo speech is likely to be conciliatory (not apologetic) because as most people are starting to realize again: we are still at war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The President cannot be expected to give a lecture on how every Islamic nation should immediately amend their constitutions to read like the First Amendment in the United States. He cannot give the impression that his goal is to demand the impostion of democracy, American-style immediately throughout the Middle East.
If I ran a “one world government” (don’t worry, I’m not running and it is not happening), I’d be insisting on a program of political, religious and economic rights that go far beyond that found in any country. However, President Obama has a complex set of political and military considerations which for the moment must be balanced against criticisms of current rights policies.
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