Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Obama Backsteps Made in USA Foreign Policy for Egypt

As the Egyptian people take to the streets of its cities against decades of repression, increasing poverty and unbearable food prices, the Obama administration is in an admitted quandary of either supporting the requested demand for democratic reform of the people or the stable support of a corrupt dictator. The longer he waits to decide in pursuit of his request for an “orderly transition” to democratic reform as stated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the more his hopes of modeling changes as those that occurred in Turkey, the more likely what happened in Iran in 1979 will come to fruition. The conundrum is that he as president in the past has been in bed with Mubarak and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia too long to adapt or alter American political policy in the region. This in fact is worse than the BP oil spill or the mid-term election losses the democrats suffered this past November.

The citizenry of Egypt know more of the US support of Mubarak’s three decades than the average American and of the $1.5 billion annually gives to his totalitarian regime. This is an overshadowing sticking point since cutting off this aid would likely make the Israeli government uneasy. But being on the wrong side of the history could proffer even more hazardous for President Obama: for again it may result in leadership similar to that in Iran after the overthrow of the shah via popular revolt – but I seriously doubt it.

Yet it could. We have already lost face validity for even asking a man who has ruled for nearly 30 years to be in charge of the democratic conversion of an autocratic state. I would be more fearful of an anti American state more so than an Islamic fundamentalist state that hates the West. I remember seeing the murder of Anwar Sadat on television and remember it was not by Islamic fundamentalist but rather folk who hated the fact that he dealt with the west, particularly the United States and Israel. I also recall that our most hated enemy, Al Zawahiri was forced to leave his home of Egypt because of Mubarak’s preventing such men from being a part of the political process. Thus it is not unlikely that these young secular democracy seeking, twitter and facebook users may be pushed by Obama inaction to hate the US as much or as equal as Mubarak.

Obama seems to need to brush up on his history or risk another Khomeini. The truth is we back step when folk desire liberty and democracy after we talk it up as did the President in his address at the American University in Cairo in 2009. We go after the Saddam Hussein’s of the world while kicking it with the Mubarak’s and King Abdullah’s of the world. This is what creates Islamic fundamental extremist that desire to fly planes into our architecture. Seeing we have not learned anything after support Augusto Pinochet in Chile, Chiang Kaishek in Tiawan or Mobutu Seko in Zaire. Obama needs to face the fact that we support such openly, especially in the case of Mubarak and the sad thing is that we do so for Israel (who just sent three Israeli planes landed at Cairo's Mina International Airport on Saturday carrying hazardous equipment for use in dispersing and suppressing large crowds)not America. I mean we seem to speak more of the Suez canal and what Egypt thinks and feel that the people of Egypt.

Obama has a tough task ahead. He holds the baggage of American foreign policy. This will make it complicated for him to urge a transition from a US supported government that has abrogated any and all other organized political alternatives and elides political freedom. Maybe we should rethink Afghanistan for what we see in Tunisia and Egypt tells us that it does not require a bloody and bellicose illegal invasion and occupation to overthrow a dictator. So get your practice on Mr President, Jordan is likely to be next - so don't blow it.

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