Category: Egypt

Did Obama Throw Israel or Palestine Under the Bus?

By , May 22, 2011 9:56 pm

Walter Russell Mead says it was Palestine and that all the bruhah about his Israel/Middle East speech is overblown or downright wrong. I agree. He writes:

On substantive grounds, it is hard to see what Obama’s critics have in mind. The US position is and has always been that the 1967 borders are the starting point for negotiations. UN Security Council Resolution 242, the basis for all negotiations on this question since it was passed in 1967, makes that very plain — although that resolution does not demand an Israeli withdrawal from all of the territory it conquered in the war. President Bush never deviated from this position; neither has President Obama. Israeli prime ministers including Likud prime ministers like Ehud Olmert have accepted this for years. This is standard diplospeak boilerplate. It is a non-statement, a platitude, even a bromide.

His post comes with a nifty little map of the controversy, courtesy of the CIA:

Slavery and Foreign Policy Realists

By , March 29, 2011 4:54 pm

So what’s the difference between slavery in the pre-Civil War U.S. and a foreign policy that would prop up a dictator like Mubarak or the Shaw or Marcos because he was friendly to U.S. interests in the region, even though he abused the people of his country? To my mind, in both cases innocent people were being severely abused, even killed. In both cases, people in power ignored the abuse because it benefited their interests. In both cases, the people in power had the resources to stop the abuse.

Internet Kill Switches

By , February 18, 2011 12:04 am

Egypt has one.

Bahrain apparently has one.

And the US is thinking about one or might even have one?

As Glenn Reynolds often says, the country is in the very best of hands.

Even Obama’s Wrong, He’s Right: Part II

By , February 13, 2011 2:46 pm

Slate’s John Dickerson weighs in on Obama’s performance in the events leading up to Mubarak’s ouster, and he rips a page out of Thomas Friedman’s playbook.

As Dickerson writes in a piece titled Was Obama Too Indecisive on Egypt?
Or did his refusal to meddle actually speed Mubarak’s fall?

Whether by design or dithering, U.S. policy makers didn’t get in the way of events in Cairo. That strategy appears to have been successful. That may mean that in a world where developments can move so quickly, TBD is the new SOP.

Dickerson’s piece is more nuanced than the conclusion, and he does take some shots at the administration’s handling of the crisis; nevertheless, he comes off as making excuses for the President’s handling of the matter. I just hope he didn’t feel a tingle running up his leg as events unfolded.

Coup News: Honduras Then, Egypt Now

By , February 13, 2011 1:38 pm

Summer 2009, I wrote a series of posts about the coup (or not to coup) in Honduras. I’ve kind of lost track of whether the Obama administration finally declared that what happened down there was a coup or not.

That said, I have not forgotten that the administration opposed what happened and actively campaigned for the return of Manuel Zelaya to power, even though that country’s Congress and Supreme Court approved his approval. In short, what appeared, at least to me, to be a constitutional transfer of power by constitutionally constituted bodies–a transfer necessitated by the fear that Zelaya was attempting to become the region’s next Chavez–was some sort of coup to our administration.

With this in mind, consider the news of the last few days out of Egypt: Mubarak surrendered power to the Egyptian military, which today dissolved parliament, suspended the nation’s constitution, and promised elections in 6 months–in what The New York Times reports the military called “a democratic transition.”

Now I support what is happening in Egypt. It appears at this point that the military is acting in harmony with the public’s will, justifying, in the military’s mind at least, its claim of a democratic transition. What I’m waiting for now is for the Obama administration to call this a coup.

What? They’re not going to do that?

Then why all the fuss over Honduras, where a democratically elected congress and the supreme court transferred power?

Critics of the Obama administration have questioned why he didn’t offer similar support for those who protested in Iran in 2009-2010. They should add Honduras to the list of inconsistencies.

Even When Obama’s Wrong, He’s Right

By , February 11, 2011 4:14 pm

Thomas Friedman offers some hopeful comments on Egypt in general and to those who suffer at the hands of “a lot of worried kings and autocrats . . . from North Africa to Burma to Beijing.” And, he continues,

it is not simply because a dictator has been brought down by his people. That has happened before. It is because the way it was done is so easy to emulate. What made this Egyptian democracy movement so powerful is its legitimacy.

It was started by youth and enabled by Facebook and Twitter. It was completely non-violent and only resorted to stone-throwing when faced with attacks by regime thugs. It drew on every segment of the Egyptian population. There was a huge flag in Tahrir Square today with a Muslim crescent moon and a Christian cross inside it. And most of all, it had no outside help.

Now, I agree with Friedman. And I, too, am hopeful. But I was hopeful for Iraq, and I’m worried that experiment tells us too much about what might happen in Egypt after the jubilation subsides and the work begins. Nevertheless, today I’m hopeful.

That said, I didn’t come to Friedman’s column expecting to agree with him. I came expecting to find something Friedmanesque. I was not disappointed. Immediately after the paragraphs I just quoted, Mr.Friedman lets loose this little gem of a paragraph:

In some ways, President Barack Obama did the Egyptian revolution a great favor by never fully endorsing it and never even getting his act together for how to deal with it. This meant in the end that Egyptians know they did this for themselves by themselves – with nothing but their own willpower, unity and creativity.

It’s good to know that some continue to think that our President Walks on water even when he’s in over his head.

Mubarak Steps Down

By , February 11, 2011 10:01 am

And cedes power to the military. My wife thinks chaos will ensue. I’m more hopeful. Let’s pray I’m right, for Egypt’s sake. For Israel’s.

Food Prices Up. Egypt’s Future Down?

By , February 6, 2011 2:27 pm

Even Islamists have to eat,” and that doesn’t bode well for the whatever government assumes power as the result of the Egyptian revolution. So says David P. Goldman, aka Spengler.

Speaking of the Middle East . . .

By , February 6, 2011 1:46 pm

You can find Al Jazeera English living streaming here. Now Frank Rich can sleep at night.

Nicholas Kristof Plays Edgar Bergen to His Egyptian Friend, Charlie McCarthy

By , February 6, 2011 1:24 pm

Where’s a friend, when you need a someone to bash Republicans. Civility being the rage and all in the United States, you go to Egypt, which is what New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof did when he reached out to “an old friend in Cairo” to reassure him that Egypt would not fall into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood if Mubarak exited stage right. That woman,

a woman with Western tastes that include an occasional glass of whiskey, . . . thought for a moment and said: “Yes, possibly. But, from my point of view, in America the Republican Party is bad for peace as well.”

But don’t stop there Nick, go for the throat–in your very next sentence,

If democracy gains in the Middle East, there will be some demagogues, nationalists and jingoists, just as there are in America and Israel, and they may make diplomacy more complicated.

I think this is what is called a tri-fecta: 1.) use a mouthpiece to bash your least favorite political party, 2.) make sure that bashing includes equating the Republican party with the Muslim Brotherhood, 3.) then make sure to chime in that there are “demagogues, nationalists, and jingoists” in American, just like those horrible Muslim Brotherhood guys who are busy making “diplomacy more difficult” (for the anointed one, I suppose).


Update: Stumbled upon this post by David Pryce-Jones, Anyone Here Been Raped & Speaks English? a post named after the book of the same title. Seemed an appropriate addendum.

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