April 11th, 2009
02:28 PM ET
9 years ago

Muslim issues dominate agenda

President Obama visits the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul during his bridge-building and sight-seeing trip to Turkey.

President Obama visits the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul during his bridge-building and sight-seeing trip to Turkey.

(CNN) - The collapse of the U.S. economy has dominated the first months of Barack Obama's presidency.

But after last week's G-20 summit in London, Obama was in Turkey and Iraq this week, underscoring a different point.

Once he's taken care of problems at home, most of his biggest business is in the Muslim world.

Iraq: Obama owes his election in part to his opposition to the war in Iraq. Now, he plans to withdraw U.S. combat troops. But Iraq is still so dangerous that Obama had to keep his visit a surprise and be content with a quick look from behind U.S. barbed wire. Will U.S. forces really be able to back out?

Afghanistan: Obama has made this war his own, vowing to win, promising to keep terrorists from again taking refuge on Afghan soil. Even after more than seven years of fighting, the challenge is daunting and some Americans are already musing about whether it will be 'Obama's Vietnam'.

The Obama administration sees Pakistan as both a base for insurgents in Afghanistan and a battleground in its own right. Militants threaten the stability of the country and also potentially the security of its nuclear weapons. What's the best way for Obama to respond?

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Dan, TX

    I think it is time to get out of leading the effort in Afghanistan and Iraq. If Russia, China, Europe and the rest of the world are OK with al queda running those countries, fine. I'll take the cash savings and I'm willing to risk a terrorist attack on New York or Washington.

    If we would have turned our cheek and resisted the irresistable attack on Afghanistan to begin with, we probably would be no worse off, perhaps better off in National security, and have a the world in the palm of our hand. We could have had a muslim assassination squad take out bin laden a long time ago.

    April 11, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. pavocavalry

    the perception in islamic worlds about USA's crusade would not change

    its bettter if the USA concentrates on improving its strategy and tactics

    since 1979 the USA has repeatedly failed to take advantage of the many imbalances in the islamic world

    by now the USA should have created the kurd baloch and uzbek afghan states and these would have been good vassals of USA

    a case of lack of grey matter

    April 11, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. sensible Cape Coral FL

    Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. It's about time we accepted that fact and come to terms with it. But only someone of President Obama's stature will be able to achieve it.

    April 11, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. Ken Sawyer

    I thought they were our friends now since ole George is gone. As we become more friendly in Iraq the body count rises there also.. Must have teed them off when gitmo got all the attention.

    April 11, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. Ellie Hawking

    Well, at least he's now in his true element.

    April 11, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Obama and Bush

    Obama now knows what Bush knew. Don't look for big changes in U.S. policy in the Middle East. If anything, the road ahead could get rougher.

    April 11, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. Ken Sawyer

    I want to know where my stimulus check is?

    April 11, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  8. Ken Sawyer

    When you turn your cheek you usually get kicked in both of them.

    April 11, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. tpbco

    Good call Dan (from Tx), glad a terrorist attack in NY or DC won't bother you.

    April 11, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. Ray Fisher

    By addressing the muslim issues first the President can eliminate the war costs from the budget and gain a peace dividend!!!

    April 11, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  11. Belle2

    It seems to me that no matter what Obama does (or does not do) his fans defend and his opposition attacks. This needs to stop; we all need to take an objective look at his actions as President and consider if they will be effective or not. The Republicans have a responsibility to publicize their opposing view; Obama fans have a responsibility to accept Obama as a fallible human. We all need to ask-
    Will his actions at the G-20 help to stabilize the economy? Maybe being the arbiter was the most he could do at the first meeting with the G-20. After all, he had to first overcome their opinion of Bush. Let's all give him a chance there.
    What did his bow to the Saudi King mean? First there is no question that he bowed. The real problem is that he found it necessary to deny that bow. We all need to ask why.

    April 11, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  12. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Islam is the fatest growing religion in the world. It's about time that we accept that fact and come to terms with it. But only someone of President Obama's stature with be able to achieve it. War is not the answer.

    April 11, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. Ken Sawyer

    The reason the economy collapsed is that no one with any money is going to invest in a government that is so reckless with the treasury. The stock market collapsed because smart people converted it to cash while it was high and left the people who have faith in this country in the long haul out on a limb.It is still there and will emerge because money is made when the little man bails out and the big mans steals it a cheap price. The stock market fell as Obama gained strength with his redistribute wealth speeches.

    April 11, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. John P, Toronto

    Dan, Al Qaeda for the most part is a figment of U.S. imagination. In Afghanistan the US is fighting the Taliban (who weren't involved in 9-11). When the Taliban first came to power, the US (including all the Repubs) supported them. Why? because the US wanted to build a oil pipeline in Southern Afghanistan. You still do. In Iraq you are fighting Shi'ite and Sunni militias, not Al Qaeda.

    Assuming for a minute Al Qaeda did have something to do with 9-11, there long gone now. Of course the official 9-11 story has more holes than Swiss cheese. The face that 6 of the supposed 9-11 hijackers have shown up alive post 9-11 hasn't helped the official story.

    April 11, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  15. s

    These three countries are not solely about Islam. Such a simplistic view leads to more misconceptions and possible misunderstandings.

    April 11, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. Mary

    Why do you feel the need to title this headline this way ? I know you can...but just because you can doesn't mean you should. Were you just not aware of what you were writing ? You could have written "Middle East" instead of Muslem... you know what this does to people...You all know your words influence...and you
    know there are people who still don't understand this...
    Please think of what you write before you write it...you all address many people...and we ALL have to work with each other in order for it to get better...and you all could make such a good difference in this world...and I believe that you have when the cases have been presented in respectful, thoughtful, and positive ways...and because I have seen you do it...I know you can...and it would be nice to see you all do it more...we have to "make it better" in order for it to get better.

    I am sincere when I say, Thank You, to you all...for taking time in your lives...to keep the rest of us informed and aware of ourselves...as well as others and the world around us...for the greater good of us all...


    April 11, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. Muslim

    I think it's time for Americans to understand that it is not their job to FIX THE WORLD, lets fix this country first.

    April 11, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  18. Susan

    As an Obama supporter, this whole escalation is disappointing, to say the least. This is not what we voted for...we voted to get us out of a part pf the world that is not our business.

    April 11, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  19. G cummings

    As a proud American, I cannot believe that a few Somali pirates can hold the entire US Armed Forces at bay with a few machine guns. The President is sending thousands of troops to Afghanistan where many hundreds will die yet the gang of Somalian thugs and kidnappers are allowed to embarrass the United States and the US military. President Obama should order the immediate bombing of all known Somali pirate ports and immediately fire upon the life boat. If Captain Phillips die it will certainly not be in vain as his death will save many more lives in the future as the Somalians will think twice before taking hijacking any more ships. Please Mr. President, follow the example of the French, show the world that the United States is not to be taken lightly.


    Gerald Cummings

    April 11, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. Hayden

    A previous poster wrote, "Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. It's about time we accepted that fact and come to terms with it. But only someone of President Obama's stature will be able to achieve it." Must be one of those people who would elevate Obama to Second Coming status. Just because Islam is one of the fastest growing religions does not mean that we need to bow to that fact. Can you point out to me a moderate, democratic Muslim country besides Turkey? We need to engage with them but I don't see Al Qaeda declaring peace no matter what we did. We need to come to terms as equals as not on our needs.

    April 11, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  21. Mississippi Mike

    This isn't helping to dispell the myth that Obama is really a muslim.

    April 11, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  22. rob

    Israel is a thorn in the muslim world side and as long as jews are living there and there is a nation called Israel the world will never be at peace

    April 11, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  23. John from California

    I think it's time that the American people get behind our President and support his initiatives around the world.

    The people in this country that seek to make political gains with their whining about the President are guilty of being unpatriotic and the media needs to stop giving them press coverage as if they represent the majority of Americans.

    April 11, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. barry's toker man

    Islam is not the fastest growing religion in the world. But if it was it doesn't mean non-Muslims should be required to bow to their every demand and complaint from Muslims. Threats of violence and death for publication of cartoons are not acceptable, despite what the Democrat party or Obama think.

    April 11, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. Aziz, IL

    Pakistan is a very powerful country. Militarily speaking. This enemy is unique to traditional fighing standard. Thats why even the U.S. cannot get a handle on it. There is 0 % possibility that Pakistan's Nukes would fall into rouge hands. This point is utter nonsense and impossible. After the shut down of the A.Q. Khan network. All nukes are under military (Army, Navy, Airforce) control. And the weopns storage facilites model the exact same method that the U.S. uses to protect and hide it's nukes.. Lets get realistic here people

    April 11, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
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