I don't pretend to be a foreign policy expert, nor am an expert on Islam. I do believe, however, that America is going to have to take a new perspective on its relationship with the nations of the world.
Think, for a minute of how we have thought of 'globalization'. In almost every sentence in which its used, it has to do with commerce. Think of how we refer to our international interests - or our interests abroad - again, it has to do with international finance.
In our going to war in Iraq, one of the weaknesses in our intelligence was a lack of understanding of the language or the culture. We only had an understanding of the conflict, our own interests and the need to bring democracy to the region.
At some point we have to acknowledge that we are not the only country with self interests. And we have to understand that the perspectives of others can differ with ours without being dangerous, unenlightened or evil.
Every country and every culture has extremists. We should vigorously seek to resist them at home and abroad. And where the harm or murder, we should seek justice. But we should differentiate between extremism and culture, government and faith. And we should know that systems different than ours are not inferior to ours. There is a difference between unity among nations and a uniformity among nations.
If we define peace as the absence of tension, then we are the losers no matter our international interests. And in order for there to be a new foundation for diplomatic relationships with people whose governments, cultures and faith are radically different from ours. We must begin a dialogue that demonstrates understanding and respect - beyond money.
In an HBO special about the first Gulf War, Michael Keaton, playing a CNN producer tells an Iraqui official, 'As long as we're talking, we're not killing one another.'
Maybe Obama's Cairo speech was naive and simplistic. It definitely needs to be followed with creative action. But if he can engage other nations in the conversation, maybe its a start to bringing the killing to an end.