The following is an excerpt from my interview yesterday with CNN's John King.
John King: The White House announced today that President Obama is planning a major address, perhaps as early as next week, with a goal of reaching out to Muslims around the world….What's the president's biggest challenge now?
Fareed Zakaria: What I think he's trying to do is to interpret events for the American public and for a larger global public. That was his intention with Cairo 1, as it will be for this speech - let's call it Cairo 2.0, even though it isn't going to be given in Cairo.
Presidents are often remembered for the way in which they provide some meaning to events. Woodrow Wilson interpreted World War I and America's participation for America, for the world and for history.
I think President Obama sees the Arab awakening as a similarly historic event. I think he wants to try to present an interpretation.
I know that this idea of a speech was in the works long before Osama bin Laden was assassinated.
Bin Laden, of course, provides a kind of one-two punch. And so it will be part of this broader narrative.
But I wouldn't be surprised if a large part of it is devoted to the Arab awakening and the Arab spring.
Any prospects at all - especially given the tensions and the disagreements between the American administration and the Israeli government right now - of moving the Palestinian peace process into an actual peace process?
I think it’s very unlikely for precisely the reason you alluded to. At the end of the day, there isn't going to be any significant movement in that direction unless the Israeli government believes that it is in its interests to do so.
Israel is the power on the ground. It has the land and the guns. And unless the Israelis decide that they want to go down this path, it turns out there's very little the United States – and certainly the American president - can do.
President Obama has made efforts but they have all been rebuffed by Prime Minister Netanyahu. Netanyahu pleads privately that his coalition would fall apart.
For all those complicated reasons, I think much as the White House would like to see some movement there, and as much as the King of Jordan would like to see some movement, we will have some of the usual platitudes about the Middle East peace process but no actual peace.