Actual sign seen in Tahrir Square, Egypt, on 3 December 2012
"And, immediately, there fell from his eyes as it were scales, he saw again also presently, and having risen, was baptised in the blest waters of the enlightened."
The Washington Post's David Ignatius had a remarkable piece on the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi and the Obama administration's "odd" (it's only "odd" if you have been in the tank for Obama for 6 years) reaction to what is happening in Egypt yesterday entitled, "Our Man In Cairo." It begins with a question that every bloody Progressive, who supports Obama and claims to be a stalwart fighter for human rights, should be asking themselves...and every single mouthpiece from CAIR, MPAC, the California teachers' unions, CodePink, etc.:
How did Washington become the best friend of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, even as President Mohamed Morsi was asserting dictatorial powers and his followers were beating up secular liberals in the streets of Cairo?
It’s a question many Arabs ask these days, and it deserves an answer.
Morsi and his Brotherhood followers are on a power trip after decades of isolation and persecution. You could see that newfound status when Morsi visited the United Nations in September and even more so during the diplomacy that led to last month’s cease-fire in Gaza, brokered by Morsi and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Brotherhood leaders had gone from outcasts to superstars, and they were basking in the attention.
And let’s be honest: The Obama administration has been Morsi’s main enabler. U.S. officials have worked closely with him on economic development and regional diplomacy. Visiting Washington last week, Morsi’s top aides were touting their boss’s close contacts with President Obama and describing phone calls between the two leaders that led to the Gaza cease-fire.
Morsi’s unlikely role as a peacemaker is the upside of the “cosmic wager” Obama has made on the Muslim Brotherhood. It illustrates why the administration was wise to keep its channels open over the past year of post-revolutionary jockeying in Egypt.
But power corrupts, and this is as true with the Muslim Brotherhood as with any other group that suddenly finds itself in the driver’s seat after decades of ostracism. Probably thinking he had America’s backing, Morsi overreached on Nov. 22 by declaring that his presidential decrees were not subject to judicial review. His followers claim that he was trying to protect Egypt’s revolution from judges appointed by Hosni Mubarak. But that rationale has worn thin as members of Morsi’s government resigned in protest, thousands of demonstrators took the streets and, ominously, Muslim Brotherhood supporters began counterattacking with rocks, clubs and metal pipes.
Through this upheaval, the Obama administration has been oddly restrained. After the power grab, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said: “We call for calm and encourage all parties to work together and call for all Egyptians to resolve their differences over these important issues peacefully and through democratic dialogue.” Not exactly a thundering denunciation.
“You need to explain to me why the U.S. reaction to Morsi’s behavior is so muted,” one Arab official wrote me. “So a Muslim Brotherhood leader becomes president of Egypt. He then swoops in with the most daring usurping of presidential powers since the Pharaohs, enough to make Mubarak look like a minor-league autocrat in training by comparison, and the only response the . . . [Obama administration] can put out is [Nuland’s statement].” This official wondered whether the United States had lost its moral and political bearings in its enthusiasm to find new friends.
The administration’s rejoinder is that this isn’t about America. Egyptians and other Arabs are writing their history now, and they will have to live with the consequences. Moreover, the last thing secular protesters need is an American embrace. That’s surely true, but it’s crazy for Washington to appear to take sides against those who want a liberal, tolerant Egypt and for those who favor sharia. Somehow, that’s where the administration has ended up.
For a lesson in the dangers of falling in love with your client, look at Iraq: U.S. officials, starting with President George W. Bush and Gen. David Petraeus, kept lauding Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, despite warnings from many Iraqis that he was a conspiratorial politician who would end up siding with Iran. This misplaced affection continued into the Obama administration: Even after the Iraqi people in their wisdom voted in 2010 to dump Maliki, the United States helped him cobble together enough support to remain in power. Arab observers are still scratching their heads trying to understand that one.
When assessing the turbulent events in the Arab world, we should remind ourselves that we’re witnessing a revolution that may take decades to produce a stable outcome. With the outcome so hard to predict, it’s a mistake to make big bets on any particular player. The U.S. role should be to support the broad movement for change and economic development and to keep lines open to whatever democratic governments emerge.
America will help the Arab world through this turmoil if it states clearly that U.S. policy is guided by its interests and values, not by transient alliances and friendships. If Morsi wants to be treated as a democratic leader, he will have to act like one.
Now, if Mr Ignatius would only put the key into the ignition of the DeLorean in his brain and ask:
One has to wonder how Egypt and the rest of the Middle East would look today if the Arab Spring had followed a successful Iranian Green Revolution that had overthrown the Ayatollahs, the Revolutionary Guard and the nutter 12th'ers like Ahmadinejad because President Barack Obama had stood with the protestors instead of appeasing the regime in some false hope that he -- because of his "uniqueness" -- could dialogue it out of its nuclear weapons aspirations? What would the Muslim World look like today if President Obama had travelled to Istanbul during those bloody days in June of 2009 and said the equivalent of "Ich bin ein Berliner"? What if he had gone to Cairo when Neda and her friends were dying and said the equivalent of "Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"?
We'll never know because he chose to be, in Mr Ignatius' words relative to the Obama administration's reaction to Morsi's Pharaoh-like behaviour, "oddly restrained."
Come to think of it, "oddly restrained" is an odd way to describe a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
President Obama: Kissing Islamism* one radical, Islamic ass at a time.
* I do NOT use the term "Islamism" interchangeably with "Islam," "Islamic," "Muslim," etc. Islamism has a specific definition and is defined by:
1. Dictionary.com: as "support of or advocacy for Islamic FUNDAMENTALISM";
2. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary: as "a popular reform movement advocating the reordering of government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam";
3. The Oxford Dictionary: as "Islamic militancy or fundamentalism";
4. Me: as "radical Muslims, whose members belong to a misogynistic, racist, homophobic, bigoted, child-abusing, xenophobic, tribalistic, antisemitic, Christophobic, maniacal, thin-skinned, homicidal, suicidal, totalitarian, 7th century death cult.
But, because I am unlike them and am no Islamophobe (which implies fear), I will happily extend my hand in peace and welcome them to modernity, if and when the Neanderthals decide they wish to join the rest of us in the 21st century...until then, The Mo Doctrine is in full force and effect.
If you want your government and society 'reordered' in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam, then move to Saudi Arabia, Iran or Afghanistan. My determination to destroy you doesn't make me an Islamophobe. It makes me a defender of my civilisation and what the values upon which we order our government and society and the freedoms we cherish. You don't want free speech, women's rights, homosexuals in your society (It's true! No, really! You actually can have a gay-free country. Just ask Ahmadinihitler), female education, labium, women drivers, universal suffrage, freedom of religion, the right to bear and bare arms, etc? Fine. Leave. Stone each other to death for watching The Flintstones while living in the Stone Age. I. DON'T. BLOODY. CARE, but understand this: None of what I've said makes me an Islamophobe nor does it make me intolerant. Other than the campuses of universities in the West, there is no less diverse and no more intolerant place on earth than countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Afghanistan.