Shmuel Rosner is an editor and columnist based in Tel Aviv. He blogs daily at Rosner's Domain, and he wrote a piece for us about Obama's speech this morning.
Barack Obama has two imminent opportunities to test the effectiveness of his speech in Cairo today: Will it help the more moderate candidates win in next week's Lebanon election? The week after, will it help in transforming Iranian public opinion and make Iranians more prone to oust their radical president? Speeches, unlike literature, should not be judged as prose or poetry--but with Obama, we sometimes tend to forget that. The eloquence with which he conveys his message is almost always numbingly beautiful. Words, however, will not suffice; they will only be remembered as significant if they have consequences. Ronald Reagan's "tear down this wall" speech was remarkable when it was delivered, and was much more so when the wall was indeed torn down.