Obama's speech represents a short-term tactical gain for his policy of engagement. But such 'soft power' capital is modest and will almost certainly depreciate. It cannot form the basis for a sound, workable American strategy in the Middle East. On the strategic and policy levels, the speech contained many reassuring themes from Israel's perspective. However the language he used to describe the roots of the conflict were disturbing, and may only reinforce Arab extremism and thus serve to lessen the long term prospects for peace. Worse still, the speech was vague and lacked resolve regarding the most urgent problem for Israel and America's other regional allies -- the imminent threat of Iran's nuclear weapons program.

'President Obama's Cairo Speech' BESA Perspectives 79, 2009

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The Argov Center for the Study of Israel and the Jewish people studies the entire range of topics relevant to the identity of Israel as a Jewish state and to expressions of that identity. Within that framework, the Center focuses on two major clusters of interest.

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The Argov Center for the Study of Israel and the Jewish People, Department of Political Studies, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan 52900 Israel