NYT: President-elect Barack Obama’s aides say he is considering making a major foreign policy speech from an Islamic capital during his first 100 days in office.
So where should he do it? The list of Islamic world capitals is long, and includes the obvious —Riyadh, Kuwait City, Islamabad — and the not-so-obvious — Male (the Maldives), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Tashkent (Uzbekistan). Some wise-guys have even suggested Dearborn, Mich., as a possibility.
Clearly it would be cheating for Mr. Obama to fly to Detroit, talk to Dearborn’s 30,000 Arab residents and call it a day. And Male and Ouagadougou, while certainly majority Muslim, can’t really be what Mr. Obama’s aides have in mind when they talk about locales for a high-profile speech that would seek to mend rifts between the United States and the broader Muslim world.
So Burkina Faso and the Maldives are out. But that leaves a whole swath of Islamic capitals, all ready to be spruced up for Mr. Obama to make his speech. I’ve thought hard about this, and asked a few people — diplomats even — which capital Mr. Obama should pick.
The consensus, after an entire day of reporting, is Cairo.
Politico says Jakarta, Indonesia:
Barack Obama told a group of donors in California early last year that his first international trip would be to Muslim Indonesia, a supporter who was present recalled today.
Obama promised during the campaign to convene a Muslim summit, and the New York Times speculated today on where he would deliver a major, early address to a Muslim audience, settling on Egypt as the likeliest.
The Obama donor, Los Angeles real estate executive Ted Leary, recalled that Obama spoke of his plan to donors at a February 20, 2007 breakfast fundraiser at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, soon after announcing his run for president.
"Obama told the 20 or so of us at breakfast that 'his first trip as President would be to Indonesia - the world's most populous Muslim country,'" Leary recalled.