Is President Obama About to Lose Egypt?
By: Craig Chamberlain
Once again, the geniuses in the U.S. State department were caught off guard. It’s not surprising our diplomats have turned getting caught off guard into an art form. Every development overseas has them running for cover. The only thing worse than being perpetually off guard is their consistence in picking exactly the wrong group to side with when things start to come undone.
Just take a look at the situation in the Middle East. Tunisia’s President, Ben Ali, has fled to Saudi Arabia to enjoy a life of retirement after being Tunisia’s dictator since 1987. In Egypt President Hosni Mubarak, who announced that he would not seek another term this September, might not even make it to the end of the week. King Abdullah of Jordan has fired his government is response to protesters, there is turmoil in Yemen, and protesters are taking to the streets of Damascus to see if they can topple Syrian dictator Bashar Al- assad.
None of this should have come as a surprise to anyone who was paying attention. The only democratically elected government in the region is the Iraqi government, and that only exists because the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein and saw that a democratic transition would occur. Without that action the butcher of Baghdad would still be in power, though he might be facing the same turmoil that other dictators of the region are now facing. It was part of the so called Bush doctrine that everyone yearned for freedom and that it was in the best interests of the United States to see as many democracies form as possible. As former Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice once said “we traded freedom for security, and got neither.”
It was inevitable, after the fall of Saddam and the creation of real democratic system, that other dictators should be threatened. Egyptians, Tunisians, Jordanians, Yemeni’s all can see that the people of Iraq have political freedoms and they do not. The geniuses at the State Department couldn’t see that the rest of the Arab world would want in on that? No wonder our foreign policy is always so muddled when you have fools like this mapping out, and implementing, said policy.
So what is the Middle East going to look like now? That’s hard to say, but chances are that it’s going to be a mess, and probably worse off. While our natural sympathies might lie with the people in the street demanding their freedoms we have to ask if that is all there is to it? The Tunisian revolution seems to have been more about economics than anything else, but it quickly toppled a long standing regime. The ruling party had been in power since independence in 1956, and now there is a caretaker government trying to hold things together until new elections are held.
But the main focus in on Egypt. Mainly because Tunisia is a country of ten million people and Egypt is a country of eighty million people. Tunisia’s government worked from 1956 to the very end on woman’s rights, education, creating a middle class, and suppressing Islamic extremism. Admittedly they accomplished this through dictatorial means, rigging elections, controlling the press, and denying people their civil rights. Egypt’s government wasn’t concerned with any program other than staying in power. Egypt had the same dictatorial problems that Tunisia did, but without any of the economic growth.
Tunisia never had much of an Islamic movement, but already, their exiled leader has returned to Tunisia and vowed to fight to create an Islamic state in what is currently the most secular nation in the Arab world. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, on the other hand, is quite large and capable of taking control of the government if President Mubarak should flee before the situation is stabilized.
This is the problem that the Obama administration faces. Ben Ali, and Mubarak were both dictators. That point cannot be denied. But are they better than the alternative? I can’t see any new government coming to power in Egypt and being able to hold off the brotherhood. The youthful idealists in the streets aren’t organized, don’t have a leader, and might not have the skill, or interest, in actually governing the country once President Mubarak is out of power. The brotherhood has all of these things and desperately wants to take over the country.
Stupidly our State Department is trying to work with the “opposition” and bring them into a new government. These clowns never learn. Whatever replaces Mubarak will be an anti American, and anti Israeli regime. And how will the Israeli’s respond to being surrounded by people who are really committed to kill them? Syria, and Lebanon are vassals to Iran, as is the Gaza strip, and if Egypt falls to the terrorists then Israel will have fanatical forces to the north, south, and east to deal with.
President Obama hasn’t sent a clear message during this crisis. Instead it looks like he’s throwing an ally under the bus, and hoping to cut a deal with a new government. A government that could very well end up being an ally of Iran. We’re seeing a disturbing trend across the middle east. The idea of Islamic government is spreading, often by popular vote. The problem is that once they take power they nullify democracy and rule as dictators. Turkey has a government that has the same goals as Al-Qaeda, Gaza is controlled by Hamas, Lebanon is controlled by Hezbollah, and behind everything is Iran constantly pushing its terror campaign and create its Islamic state.
If the Obama administration doesn’t take a stand, either for our allies or for people who want a real democracy, then we will find ourselves facing terror states across the region. President Obama has appeased, and coddled, Muslims for his entire term and has gotten nothing for it. No one in Washington wants to name the enemy or even acknowledge his existence. We treat terrorists as a bunch of misfits, more angry at their economic situation than they are committed to their beliefs. Washington must wake up and realize that radical Islamic Fascism represents an existential threat to the United States, and our policy must be to prevent their coming to power wherever they are.