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Antelope Canyon abstraction

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bitter Harvest

Is it possible to imagine a more spineless, vacillating, unprincipled President than Barack Obama, at least on the foreign policy front? With millions of Egyptians in the street protesting Morsi's brand of Islamic fundamentalist rule, has he had a more loyal friend than our president? On Monday Obama said that "only Egyptians can make the decisions that will determine their future." Looks like they have spoken, chief.

The United States will continue to monitor the "very fluid situation" in Egypt, President Barack Obama said in a statement Wednesday night. "We are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian Armed Forces to remove President Morsy and suspend the Egyptian constitution," the statement read. "I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsy and his supporters."

Obama's main military man, General Martin Dempsey, is warning (threatening) the Egyptian military of dire consequences for their actions in toppling the Morsi regime, threatening to cut back on their aid. Why is it so important to this administration to prop up a fundamentalist islamic regime, committed to instituting sharia law, which has brought the country to the brink of civil war?

Obama has a penchant for backing the wrong horse. He spent the first four years of the presidency alienating our only solid ally in the region, the Israelis, and is now making apologies for the Muslim Brotherhood, a group whose leader ran the country, contrary to clear laws in the Egyptian constitution that banned them from holding political office. Obama has been a strong supporter of Morsi and now is put in a position of underwriting his draconian policies, policies that have persecuted women amongst many others, the Muslim Brotherhood condemned the U.N.'s declaration on women's rights in March, saying it would "lead to the complete disintegration of society" and bring about the moral cohesion of Islamic societies (say what? is that a bad thing?).

Christians and moderates have been similarly marginalized, the government has squashed the judiciary, punished minorities and left the Sinai an essentially lawless region. Morsi put the Muslim Brotherhood in charge of the entire show, dissolved the democratically elected parliament and replaced it with a sham shura council. All with our apparent blessing. The Arab spring has turned into a bitter harvest.

Here's the prez trying to play catch up earlier this week:
"Our commitment to Egypt has never been around any particular individual or party. Our commitment has been to a process," he said. "What is clear right now is that although Mr Morsi was elected democratically, there's more work to be done to create the conditions in which everybody feels that their voices are heard, and that the government is responsive and truly representative."
More work to be done, huh? What is that, diplomacy speak? Morsi was not going to be re mediated, pal. I know the type. And read into it whatever you like, the opposition sees Obama as aiding the regime. From CSM:
On June 18, US Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson delivered a speech in Cairo to, she said, "set the record straight" on America's relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, particularly the popular conspiracy theory that the US had somehow engineered Morsi's rise to power. But her insistence that the elected president must be respected, dismissal of street protests as useful or appropriate, and failure to offer any criticism of either Morsi or the Brotherhood enraged Morsi's opponents. "This is the government that you and your fellow citizens elected. Even if you voted for others, I don’t think the elected nature of this government is seriously in doubt," she said. The speech also convinced critics that the US was indeed favoring the Brothers. "Some say that street action will produce better results than elections. To be honest, my government and I are deeply skeptical," she said.
Ms. Patterson also put the US firmly in the camp of "stability" over change in her speech, mirroring US policies in Egypt and across the region for decades. "Egypt needs stability to get its economic house in order, and more violence on the streets will do little more than add new names to the lists of martyrs. Instead, I recommend Egyptians get organized. Join or start a political party that reflects your values and aspirations. Egyptians need to know a better path forward. This will take time. You will have to roll up your sleeves and work hard. Progress will be slow and you often will feel frustrated. But there is no other way." She failed to mention the guilty verdicts for democracy NGO workers just a few weeks before.

On June 4, Egypt sentenced 43 Egyptians and foreigners, some of them Americans, to jail for the crime of working with democracy promotion NGOs (among them the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute, which receive most of their funding from the US government). 

The Obama administration has been strangely mute regarding the sins of this regime. Is this just his vulcan like clinical detachment or does it speak to something else, something about believing in true democratic principles? I wonder... The Egyptians were clearly headed towards civil war. The army sensed this and I think they stepped in at the right time. Way to pick them, Prez. Good luck getting out of this one. Maybe they can work things out in spite of you.

2 comments:

Jon Harwood said...

The "tar baby" that the Middle East is leads me to a more isolationistic view. Israel is an exception. They do need the occasional spanking but there is no need to alienate them either as they might as well be he 51st state. Hmmm...that might not be such a bad idea. Set up articles of Confederation with Israel allowing them the level of sovereignty the confederation had. We could adopt their health care system and they could run our military, since they excel at such things. Winners all round! Let 'em fly a B-1 over Iran on the Fourth of July as a gesture of "goodwill".

Ken Seals said...

Nicely wrapped up. Good job!
Ken