Foreign Policy Blogs

Setting the Scene

As President Obama embarks for Riyadh and Cairo this evening, the “scene setters” appear:  the BBC headlines “what could be one of the most important speeches of his presidency”;  America’s own NPR features a pre-departure interview focused on the Cairo speech as a “high-profile opportunity to reshape America’s image among Muslim countries.”

We’re all familiar how, in professional sports, atheletes and coaches try to avoid rash comments before a big game.  The same is often true in politics as officials try to manage expectations before a big event.  This time, however, the Obama White House has set the bar high.  Expect no radical changes in U.S. policy, they seem to be saying, but expect the President to succeed in altering how the Muslim world views the U.S.

Stay tuned.  This will be one to watch.



Mark Dillen

Mark Dillen heads Dillen Associates LLC, an international public affairs consultancy based in San Francisco and Croatia. A former Senior Foreign Service Officer with the US State Department, Mark managed political, media and cultural relations for US embassies in Rome, Berlin, Moscow, Sofia and Belgrade, then moved to the private sector. He has degrees from Columbia and Michigan and was a Diplomat-in-Residence at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins. Mark has also worked for USAID as a media and political advisor and twice served as election observer and organizer for OSCE in Eastern Europe.

Areas of Focus:
US Government; Europe; Diplomacy