Saudi commandos guard the front of Erga Palace in Riyadh as Barack Obama, the US president, arrives to meet Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Tuesday, January 27, 2015. Jim Bourg/Reuters
President Obama, who chose not to join France’s march for freedom, cut his state visit to democratic, nuclear India short in order to stop in Saudi Arabia Tuesday to pay his respects to the new king, Salman al-Saud, upon the death of King Abdullah.
Is this an urgent state matter or a matter of Realpolitik? Not necessarily. During a 2009 G-20 conference, Obama shocked people when he bowed down quite low to King Abdullah, 5’11”. On that same visit, Obama didn’t bow to Queen Elizabeth, 5’4”.
Perhaps the president’s visit is better seen as part of what he has said, many times, is his mandate to reach out to the Muslim world.
Obama has refused to call ISIS “Islamic,” or to connect Jihad or terrorism with “Islam.” His administration has been obsessively concerned with the false concept of “Islamophobia.”
And, while our president has frequently spoken out on behalf of African-American and Muslim men, he has been all but silent about African-American and Muslim women…