So, Arabs/Berbers may have finally figured out how to topple dictatorships. While the neo-cons rejoice and the Wilsonians applaud ‘democracy’ breaking out across the globe, the prudent sit back and contemplate the future. Of course, Obama and his administration, show their utter immaturity, inexperience, and foolhardiness by jumping out in front of the cameras and join the mobs in Cairo screaming for Mubarkak’s ouster.
This is very curious. I have been trying to block out the political horse-races media types have been staging the past two weeks and analyzing what and why Obama is doing what he is doing. Several questions are raised: First, what is different about this and the protests in Iran? In 2009, Obama sat on the sideline when the Persians revolted and Tehran crushed them, while conservatives screamed and invoked Reagan’s speeches to the dissidents in the gulags. Then, Obama said he wouldn’t interfere with internal ‘elections’. Now, Obama joins the frenzied mobs and calls for his trademark ‘change’. Of course this ‘change’ is as vacant and vacuous as the ‘change’ he promised in 2008. Why the sudden change? Has he had a change of heart about popular uprising? Is this politically motivated because he sees an opportunity to … well … establish (can’t be burnish!) his foreign policy credentials? Was he simply squeamish about confronting the Iranian regime?
I think this is both ideologically motivated and politically motivated. Obama is an opportunist. He would never have been elected had not the sub-prime mortgage crisis occurred when it did. Remember his chief of staff said to never let a crisis go to waste. Here Obama saw an easy opportunity. He saw mobs of people uprising against an Egyptian dictator who has been a traditional ally of the west against the Communists, and a tepid supporter of Israel (two strikes against him to the liberals). He saw a low hanging fruit and grabbed it quickly without thinking of the consequences. The political side of this is evident. It’s easy to make a stand for vacuous, ideological buzzwords ringing with ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’. It’s not easy to see the consequences of associated actions (ask Bush 43, Don Rumsfeld, and Paul Bremmer for advice on that one). His political standing could skyrocket by getting in front of this, using the bully-pulpit, and once again hijacking the image of Reagan for his own personal gain.
Ideologically, he sees this as another enemy of my enemy is my friend. To democrats today, everything is political. National security is political. Just ask Joe Liebermann. He sees the Mubarak of extraordinary rendition and Bush ally. He sees a foe against Communism. He sees an opportunity to make hay of the popular Arab hatred of Israel. He sees an opportunity to ‘dialogue’ and appease the Muslim brotherhood. This is completely ideological as well.
Of course, what Obama doesn’t, and cannot understand, due to the fact he has had a two second political career before being spokesperson (not leader) of the free world, is basic critical thinking. Because politically and ideologically it is the quick, expedient thing to do, he stupidly jumped head first into it. This will bite him in the end. He has quickly become Jimmy Carter II, fulfilling all the conservative’s prophesy who predicted these kinds of foolish actions back in the 2008 campaign.
The 800lb gorilla in the room that no-one will acknowledge (shoot, even the state-run media is starting to ask the basic, obvious second-order effect questions) is who will take over? But is this surprising? Pshaw! Who needs details when you have the president of “HOPE”TM and “CHANGE”TM? Of course this is not surprising. Nor is it surprising when you own the media. My gosh, even Dianne Feinstein is asking this question!
The prudent thing would have been to (well, anticipate this first of all. Time to dial up the CIA again?) take a step back and think about it. I still don’t know what to think about it! The basic fact of life in the Middle East is that the strong win. The Egyptians, like the Iraqis and Afghanis, do not understand true freedom, democracy, and the rule of secular law. Now, granted, they are far, far more secularized, liberal, and open to true democratic, rule of law society than the countries we are currently ‘nation-building’, but the unfortunate fact is that only those who are strong enough, and organized enough survive.
Mubarak seems to be handling himself fairly well. He seems to be laying the foundations to a calmer turnover to an alternative, but it remains to be seen how the people will accept this. The wildcard (and hope of the West) is the military. They have the ultimate trump and can put a stop to an unruly, powergrab by the Muslim Brotherhood who look like the most likely, most organized, and most motivated to take over. The Army hopefully has learned the lessons of 1979 and the Iranian revolution. Only they can stop radical Islamists from taking over. Truly the more enlightened Egyptians do not wish to live under shariah. If not, then there are more fundamental questions (such as the compatibility of Islam with freedom) that have to be addressed.