Thomas Friedman's brief interview with President Obama is the subject of his column today in the Times and it is worth a look. The President says something to Friedman that is one of the best indicators of the quality of his leadership and is an open look into how he intends to try and forge a Middle Eastern peace.
By the way, for another interesting take, see Aaron Miller's op-ed at CNN, where Miller argues Obama may be trying to take down Netanyahu's government by drawing clear lines on settlements.
Friedman on Obama: "It was clear from the 20-minute conversation that the president has no illusions that one speech will make lambs lie down with lions. Rather, he sees it as part of his broader diplomatic approach that says: If you go right into peoples’ living rooms, don’t be afraid to hold up a mirror to everything they are doing, but also engage them in a way that says ‘I know and respect who you are.’ You end up — if nothing else — creating a little more space for U.S. diplomacy. And you never know when that can help."
There is no small amount of hope that the President's approach--determined and respectful public honesty--will be a new way of going after an old problem that may provide some light in a dark world of hatred and fear.
As the President heads to Cairo to deliver his talk to the Arab world, we should pray for his success.