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MSU Professor: Hopeful, But Not Confident of Mideast Peace

Now that the United States of America has a new president, many are watching to see which changes he will make regarding the way America addresses the world. KSMU's Jennifer Moore spoke with a local expert who attended Barack Obama's inauguration, and who noticed something unique in the new president's speech.

As a Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Rutherford taught international politics at the University of Jordan in Amman. He has worked in Mauritania for the Peace Corps, Senegal for the United Nations, and Kenya and Somalia for the International Rescue Committee.

He had a VIP seat at the inauguration of President Barack Obama on Tuesday. He noticed that, for the first time, a president specifically addressed the Muslim world in his inaugural address.

Rutherford says he believes the main underlying theme of Obama's foreign policy will be to be more multilateral than unilateral. He says this is already seen by Obama's executive order stating that the controversial detention camp at Guantanamo Bay will be closed within a year.

He said Obama has made clear to the rest of the world that the U.S. has no tolerance for those who rule by deceit and corruption, and who do not allow dissent. He said what makes the U.S. strong is its freedom, and its "patchwork" of religious and ethnic diversity.

Rutherford said that, while he is hopeful for a peaceful resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflit, he is not confident it will come in the next four years. He says unfortunately, on both sides there are divisions, making it hard to negotiate. He said it is up to the world to assure the Israelis oftheirsecurity, and to assure the Palestinians they can live in peace with international backing, if the Israelis adhere to their international obligations.

For KSMU News, I'm Jennifer Moore.