Thursday, February 3, 2011

Not working very hard to get off the schneid

Now, call us crazy but we don't recall hearing quite the hue and cry to get behind the Iranian uprising and potential revolution/overthrow of the mullahocracy back in 2009 as we are hearing now with respect to Egypt.

But now the likes of Eugene Robinson, Maureen Dowd and George Soros have all caught democracy fever.

And after remaining largely silent on the matter, the administration has taken up the cause of seeing Hosni Mubarak removed from power. From earlier this week:

The Obama administration said for the first time that it supports a role for groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned Islamist organization, in a reformed Egyptian government.

The organization must reject violence and recognize democratic goals if the U.S. is to be comfortable with it taking part in the government, the White House said. But by even setting conditions for the involvement of such nonsecular groups, the administration took a surprise step in the midst of the crisis that has enveloped Egypt for the last week.

The statement was an acknowledgment that any popularly accepted new government will probably include groups that are not considered friendly to U.S. interests, and was a signal that the White House is prepared for that probability after 30 years of reliable relations with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

In fairness to the Obama administration, they're in kind of a bind as we've been stuck with Mubarak for the past 30 years as he has kept relative piece in the region for those 30 years but... the Muslim Brotherhood? Since when do these types of groups renounce their evil ways let alone actually carry through with any sort of positive action towards that end? The depth of naivete' displayed by the smartest kids in the room is breathtaking.

So, let's get this straight: the administration remains silent when they had a chance to support an uprising in Iran that was uniformly more pro-democracy and was without the taint of Islamists, yet we throw in with the anti-government factions in Egypt, of which a group that wants to tear up the peace treaty with Israel among other retrograde Islamist features, is a part.

Combine that with our deplorable handling of the situation down in Honduras and the amatuers of Team O are now 0 and 3 in 3 blowouts when it comes to responding to foreign policy crises.

11 comments:

steve said...

We had zero, zip, nada leverage in Iran. We have billions in leverage with Egypt. We also have been training Egyptian officers at our War College for a long time. This provides a good military to military relationship. We are still on slippery footing since we have supported Mubarak for so long.

Since you criticize the administration's efforts in Iran, what should they have done?

Honduras? I assume you are being facetious?

Steve

Dean said...

Re: no leverage in Iran. So? What's wrong with showing support to the people of Iran against their Islamist overseers? Team O sat on their hands and did absolutely nothing. Nothing. It was pathetic.

I have no problem with moving Mubarak out the door but what's with the explicit approval (with surely-not-to-be-met conditions) of the Muslim Brotherhood?

And no, I am not being facetious about Honduras.

SarahB said...

Spot ON!

Road Dawg said...

What has leverage got to do with moral support? Other than words what are we doing differently? Since the support is only words, leverage is for pussies.

There is a very unique dynamic involved with this complex situation as Steve pointed out. We are entering the second generation of Egyptian officers to have been trained in the US along the American model. We have Egyptian families living at Ft. Bragg, Ft.Sill, Ft. Knox ect. This can affect the military in a way the State Department can't.

This is HUGE, because the Egyptian army is held in such high esteem and guards the reputation. There is a reason the people don't view the army the same as the police. They are more than just an army. They are a major free-market enterprise in Egypt. They own factories that build toasters and make copper wiring, they have commercials on TV for auto repair business and build roads. They are embedded in the fabric of the population.

So this very powerful Egyptian institution has a lot to lose if radicals take over and frankly, this provides me some comfort.

Road Dawg said...

Let's look at The Dude's words side by side:

"We respect Iranian sovereignty and want to avoid the United States being the issue inside of Iran," Mr Obama said.
BBC Tuesday, 16 June 2009

"An orderly transition must be meaningful," he (Obama) said. "It must be peaceful and it must begin now." "To the people of Egypt, particularly the young people of Egypt, I want to be clear," Obama said today. "We hear your voices." ABC world news Feb 1,2011

So what happened to the respect for Egypt's sovereignty?

So what should he have done, Steve? How about being consistent? At least he wouldn't appear to be hypocritical and embarrass himself. Jeesh, do you know what the Muslim Brotherhood heard? "Blah, Blah, Blah, I won't do crap."

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drozz said...

Steve does bring up a very good point as to why the administration acts in the way they do, i.e. we have more invested in egyptian culture.

still, team o did nothing to help the iranians (cairo speech be damned), and his implicit nod to the muslim brotherhood should send shudders to anyone who knows their deeds.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

I don't think we know enough about the situation in Egypt to do much, and I don't like the guys that are there, but I know THE FRAKKIN MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD is NOT GOOD.

Doesn't exactly require brilliance, you know? "Hey, Cuba is having a revolution. Some group called Nazi Descendants United For A Fourth Time Around is probably going to be in power. Democracy! Yay! You go, guys!"

steve said...

The US government is not very popular in Iran. If it supports a faction, that will be used against them. Kind of like if the New York Times supports a GOP candidate. The best approach for the US gov, IMO, is to work quietly through back channels, and when appropriate, black ops. As a side note, American culture seems to remain fairly popular in Iran. I have friends who have family there and that is what they tell me.

While not a fan of the Muslim Brotherhood, it is difficult to oppose what looks like a nascent move towards a democracy. On the plus side, thousands of Muslims acted as human shields for Copts at their Christmas services and the Christians, at least in pictures being circulated, appear to be defending the Msulim demonstrators while they pray. I think our real leverage and influence remains with the military. We can at least hope to avoid a Tiananmen Square.

Steve

steve said...

Good take on it.

http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2011/02/this-week-at-war-the-pakistan/

Steve