Because President Barack Obama has minimized or, some might say, disavowed his Islamic heritage, he is not able to authentically utilize one of the most powerful tool required in the coming months and years.
Readers of The Korner will recall our previous discussion of both "mercy" and "beneficence" in the Islamic tradition. We noted that America was lucky to have an increasing number of Islamic ears in the world -- ears which would recognize a sincere call for mercy. What we failed to explicitly note but which was hopefully clear from the context, was that the capacity of a nation, just like an individual, to seek mercy, is directly proportional to that nation's or person's sincerity of purpose. Is America prepared to seek mercy from the Islamic world. Judging from recent events along the Somali coast, it does not appear so.
This degree of sincerity in the seeking of mercy establishes a high enough barrier to separate large numbers of the general American public. For one thing, the very concept of "mercy" is, at base, a theological idea which recognizes a divine creator. There are sizable numbers of Americans who would be excluded on this basis alongportions of America which reject such an idea. Such people have very little cognitive complexity necessary for a complete understanding of a concept like "mercy".
Mercy is also a common word in the Koran, reflecting its high importance of the word in Islamic theology. Barack clearly understands this, although he may not fully appreciate its relevance in the turbulent world of American Foreign policy.