Saturday, January 29, 2011

Egypt's Neoconservative Moment

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter's is just about the lone GOP voice favoring the pro-Mubarak status quo. Allahpundit is skeptical of McCotter, although Robert Stacy McCain's taking the Burkean angle, cautioning, well, caution. Robert cites Jim Geraghty at National Review, who I don't recall boasting of big neocon credentials, but he's right on with this, "Why Would an American President Tout Mubarak’s Regime?":

As of this writing, the Mubarak regime appears to be tottering. He’s 82 years old and has had health problems. Even if he survives this challenge to his power. Mubarak will be gone someday; even if we preserve the status quo, we can’t preserve it for too much longer. And the status quo isn’t that great for American interests (when we’re the perpetual scapegoat in Egypt’s media).

It was shameful for Obama to hesitate and dawdle before endorsing the Iranian protesters, and it creates the awkward precedent for the Obama administration speaking sooner, and more positively, about protests against the government of an ally. But in the end, why would an American president tout the virtues of a regime that shoots unarmed protesters? Let Mubarak fall. He’s had his chance, and he has failed the Egyptian people.
Exactly.

I've obviously come out for revolutionary change, for example, "
Revolt in Egypt: It's Freedom, Stupid," and "If Mubarak is Toppled?"

Now what's particularly interesting to me is the response on the left to what folks are calling a victory for George W. Bush's freedom agenda. See "
George W. Bush in Egypt." Barbara O'Brien can't stand it, and she then somehow finds the Obama administration on the right side of history. Not. See the Washington Post, for example, to the contrary, "The U.S. needs to break with Mubarak now." That's not very nuanced, but Barbara O'Brien's not too bright. That said, here's Elliot Abrams, "Egypt protests show George W. Bush was right about freedom in the Arab world":
For decades, the Arab states have seemed exceptions to the laws of politics and human nature. While liberty expanded in many parts of the globe, these nations were left behind, their "freedom deficit" signaling the political underdevelopment that accompanied many other economic and social maladies. In November 2003, President George W. Bush laid out this question:
"Are the peoples of the Middle East somehow beyond the reach of liberty? Are millions of men and women and children condemned by history or culture to live in despotism? Are they alone never to know freedom and never even to have a choice in the matter?"
The massive and violent demonstrations underway in Egypt, the smaller ones in Jordan and Yemen, and the recent revolt in Tunisia that inspired those events, have affirmed that the answer is no and are exploding, once and for all, the myth of Arab exceptionalism. Arab nations, too, yearn to throw off the secret police, to read a newspaper that the Ministry of Information has not censored and to vote in free elections. The Arab world may not be swept with a broad wave of revolts now, but neither will it soon forget this moment.
And even if we give the administration the benefit of the doubt (and considering Barack Obama's abandonment of Iran in 2009, that's being generous), I think the Wall Street Journal captures the right frame:
The best course at this late date is for U.S. officials to keep their words and attention focused on the process of political and civil reform. Our stake in Egypt is not in any one ruler but in a transition from dictatorship to a more stable representative government that can better meet the aspirations of Egyptians.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is right to call for the government to restrain the police and stop blocking the Internet, but it doesn't help when Vice President Joe Biden denies the obvious fact that Mr. Mubarak is a "dictator." The post-Mubarak era is coming one way or another, and the U.S. can't be seen as the authoritarian's last friend.
Check back for updates ...

8 comments:

Norm said...

I believe that Arabs, watching their fellow Arabs in Iraq on Al Jazeera or Al Arabiya TV give birth to messy, bloody, nasty and not nearly perfect representative government had a huge effect. American media looked down its snooty nose at this birth and gave it a thumbs down....but Arabs, living under the thumb of oppressive regimes were watching. I don't know how this is all going to turn out, but: Good job, George.

FU progressives

Donald Douglas said...

Thanks Norm.

I've seen lefties trying to get their digs into conservatives, but if Mubarak goes, along with the rest of the changes over there, it's confirmation that Bush had the right agenda. Obama's just been pulling back, and in fact declaring solidarity with the Islamist status quo. Sick.

Old Rebel said...

Just curious -- if Neocons didn't like Mubarak, why didn't they speak up while the US funnelled billions to this US puppet?

Surely you've noticed the anti-American anger expressed by the crowds. Looks like 1979 again to me.

Heckuva job!

Dana said...

Unfortunately, even though Miss O'Brien has commented on my site, I'm banned on hers. :)

Donald Douglas said...

Dana: She's banned me too. She can't stand the pushback. I comment anyway, from my work PC.

Dana said...

I guess the banning is based on my site name, because it's been a few years since she banned me in November of 2006, and I've been through a few computers, and thus IP addresses, since then.

She has posted comments on my site maybe five times in the past year, but I think it was based on links from other sources. I do have one of her comments about me in my Testimonials section. :)

Barbara O'Brien said...

For the record, DD, the post you linked to does not express approval of the Obama Administration's policies in Egypt. It was merely a commentary on what other people are saying about the situation in Egypt. At the end I say something briefly about what I think ought to be done, but I didn't say that's what the Obama Administration is doing.

Do learn to read. And a retraction would be nice, but I don't expect it.

Donald Douglas said...

Ha, Barabara! So nice of you to stop by! Not!

Your Egypt analysis ain't looking so hot after all now, eh? Asking for a retraction? Keep dreaming, LOL!