The Power of perception in US/ Arab-Muslim relations–Letters to Las Vegas Sun and LV Review Journal

This is in regard to recent news releases which have described that President Obama is extending a new hand of American friendship to Arabs and Muslims. President Obama must believe in the power of "perception", which may certainly be worthwhile in the short term. The risk that the President runs in extending a hand to the Muslim and Arab world is that the principal policies of the US, such as toward the war on terrorists(e.g. Afghanistan-Pakistan)and on Middle East policy for Israeli/Palestinian relations, appear to be steady and firm for the foreseeable future. A new cast of characters in the Obama administration are unlikely to produce any material changes in either these American policies or in on-the-ground conditions.
While the President can certainly play the "perception" card in dealing with the Muslim and Arab world, it will not take the Arabs and Muslims long to figure out that fundamental US policy in the areas of greatest concern to them is not going to change.
Even the President’s announcements of the closure of GITMO and the shift in interrogation practices to conform with the Military Field Manual include major loop holes, and timetables, that may mean that these decisions are more of the nature of form rather than substance. In any event, the President’s overtures to the Arabs and Muslims is an attempt to set a new direction in foreign relations with these people. We must wait to see just how successful this new direction in relations will be.
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