Al-Sisi’s Hammer, Obama’s Nine-Iron?
Published on: August 15, 2013
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  • wigwag

    No wonder President Obama is having margaritas with Brian Roberts. After
    all, having lost that lovin’ feeling’ with the New York Times, he can’t afford to lose the affection of the major television networks, and Robert’s
    company, Comcast, owns NBC.

    In fact, I bet that Steve Burke, the President of NBC, was at the party too. Steve has connections all over the entertainment and news industries; his father, Dan, was the President of Capital Cities Communications when it owned ABC.

    For what it’s worth, his uncle, Jim Burke, (who died last year) was the legendary CEO of Johnson & Johnson and led it successfully through the tainted Tylenol scandal in 1982.

    No one was a better crisis manager than Jim Burke; he singlehandedly guided J&J through a calamity that would have sunk lesser men. Since the start of his second term, Obama has faced one crisis after the next. Maybe the
    President hopes that Jim relayed some good advice to his nephew, Steve, that he can pick up on during cocktail party chatter.

    Surely Obama can use all the help he can get.

  • Pete

    Ah, the Egyptian military, a corrupt bunch as you’ll find anywhere (fact), has show its fangs.

    Funny though, this rag-tag bunch is formidable when only comes to murdering unarmed (or extremely lightly armed at best) civilians and not when confronting other armies.

    So tells us again, you Enlighten Ones, why is the U.S. supplying these clowns with modern weapons on the American taxpayers’ dime???

  • Corlyss

    “Might doesn’t necessarily make right.”

    Might isn’t supposed to make right; it’s supposed to make winners.

    “Wow. Maybe Barack Obama really is Dwight David Eisenhower after all!”

    I realize AG disagrees with the NYT authors, but the answer seems to me to be that the journalists writing about foreign policy today haven’t the chops that they had in Lippmann’s day, with the exception of Robert D. Kaplan. Men and women hardened by civilization’s struggles with genuine evil that most journalists since the 60s haven’t had to deal with had greater insight into the difficult choices as well as the superiority of their own nation. Those qualities have completely eluded journalists after the Viet Nam war. Today journalists like to think of themselves as moral arbiters whose first obligation is to discount and denigrate the interests of their own nation. Boy, have they got a rude awakening coming!

  • circleglider

    Wow. Maybe Barack Obama really is Dwight David Eisenhower after all!

    Or maybe he’s just a broken clock.

  • wigwag

    What happened in Egypt yesterday and is continuing to happen today is sad…” (Adam Garfinkle)

    Adam calls the violence in Egypt sad, but what is unclear is exactly what aspect of the sorry spectacle saddens him. Is his remark merely perfunctory in an “any time there’s blood shed it’s sad” sort of way or are there specific details of the unfolding story that make him morose?

    I’m also saddened by aspects of the story. I think it’s sad that a mother would be so dismissive of her children’s well-being that she is willing to put them in harm’s way.

    I think it’s sad that 17 year old Asma el-Beltagi was killed in the imbroglio. By all accounts she was a bright and gentle young lady, who, had she lived, might have moderated her views as she matured. After all, the previous Pope was a one time member of the Hitler youth; most of us get wiser as we get older.

    I also think it’s sad that so many young women, who have had their genitals mutilated to insure that sex would be less pleasurable to
    deter them from adultery, would be deluded enough to put their lives on the line to support a movement that advocates this type of mutilation.

    But there are other aspects of the story that I don’t find sad at all. I’m not saddened that the Egyptian military used deadly force to disperse a crowd that wanted a President reinstated who described Jews on several occasions as the “descendants of apes and pigs.”

    I don’t think there is anything sad that a movement that mercilessly attacks Copts and their House of Worship is being crushed.

    Given its history, including ties to the Nazis, I can’t find any particular reason to be saddened that Muslim Brotherhood cadres have been granted martyrdom, which is, after all, the “highest” of their “aspirations.”

    We don’t know yet whether the Brotherhood will be driven back underground and we don’t know whether the military regime or what follows it will last any longer than Morsi’s, presidency did, but for now at least, it seems to me that we should be celebrating.

    What I find remarkable is the sheer stupidity that has characterized reaction to the military’s behavior on both sides of the aisle. The fact that Democrats and Republicans alike harbored the idea that democracy might be coming to the Islamic world is both remarkable and frightening. It’s as if the foreign policy establishment in the United States has lost its collective mind.

    Only those who know nothing about the Muslim Brotherhood could have ever been clueless enough to think that the Brothers were the moderate alternative to more radical Islamic terrorists. The idea that politicians like Morsi or Erdogan ever had the ability, let alone the intention, of slowly but surely leading their nations towards Jeffersonian
    democracy is too absurd to even entertain.

    But that’s exactly what the Barack Obamas and the John McCains of the world thought. So did the Tom Friedmans and Robert
    Kagans of the world. Obama is supposedly a constitutional scholar; doesn’t he understand that elections are the least important aspect of
    democracy not the most important? Doesn’t he understand that pluralism is the bedrock atop which democracies are built and that the Egyptians (like the rest of the Islamic world) are anti-pluralists?

    Where were John McCain and Lindsay Graham when their seventh grade history teachers were explaining how political theorists from Cicero to our Founding Fathers drastically limited voting rights because
    they distrusted majorities and instead created system that protected individual rights and dispersed political power?
    Perhaps McCain and Graham were smoking in the boy’s room that day, because they sure don’t have a clue what democracy is, if they thought that before the coup the Egyptians were on the road to it.

    One aspect of what’s happening in Egypt that I’ve wondered about but haven’t seen any commentary on is how the United States and
    Saudi Arabia seem to be working at cross purposes; in fact, it’s worse than that. It looks like a complete rupture.

    Has there ever been a time in the past 30 years when U.S.-Saudi relations have been so poor? Certainly the Saudis had a great
    relationship with the first President Bush (and with James Baker) and my recollection is that they had a reasonable relationship with Bill Clinton. Whatever they thought of George W. Bush, my suspicion is that the House of Saud
    had too much affection for his father to oppose Dubya’s policies too forcefully.

    It seems to me that the Saudis have concluded that President Obama is both a light weight and a coward. They are as annoyed at his fecklessness over Iran as the Israelis are and they were incensed by
    Obama’s decision to abandon Mubarak as if he was a piece of trash.

    Perhaps Adam can tell us whether there is anything that resembles the concept of Karma in Islam, but one thing is sure; what’s going
    around does seem to be coming around.

    Why does the United States have no leverage with the Egyptian military? Because the Saudis have insured that American aid is
    miniscule compared to the aid that they are willing to provide.

    What was the Saudi Government telling the Egyptian military to do just as Obama, Hagel and Kerry were begging for restraint? They were telling al-Sisi, “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.”

    As Obama was “punishing” the Egyptian military by reneging on the delivery of fighter jets what was Saudi Arabia doing? It was arranging for the delivery of an arms
    package by the Russians that they have agreed to finance.

    I also wonder whether there has ever been a time when the interests of the Saudis, the Gulf States, Jordan and the Israelis have been
    more closely aligned than they are now. After all, they all agree on the two major issues confronting the region; Iran and Egypt and they all see Obama’s incompetence as a major strategic threat.

    It seems to me that while the hot war between Sunni and Shia is getting all the press, the cold war between the Sunnis is equally
    important though rarely recognized. Saudi Arabia leads one faction and Turkey leads the other. Obama, because of his foolish belief that moderate Islamism is the answer to America’s problem with the Muslim world, has sided with the Turkish faction. Unfortunately for Obama and his best friend, Erdogan, the Saudi’s are cleaning the Turk’s clocks.

    These days every night before I go to sleep, I find myself saying a prayer for the health of Prince Bandar. At least he’s protecting American interests and, ironically, doing more to promote our values, than the current
    Commander in Chief who appears to be asleep at the switch in the Oval Office.

    • ljgude

      Nice analysis WigWag – right down to the concluding irony that Prince Bandar is actually pursuing American interests better than our postmodern president. It’s all getting a bit Gilbert and Sullivan.

  • Anthony

    Egypt’s economy is ailing to say the least; and for 2 1/2 years political unrest has been her steady diet. She has nationalism, martyrdom, Islamism, et al converging in potential slide of increasing strife. Are we witnessing replication of Algeria after 1991 (decades-long civil war prompted by generals) while acknowledging tentacles of deep state?

    “No one could ever have thought that reinventing Fgypt was going to be easy. It has never had a proper democracy. Much of its populace is illerate. Most of its people live in poverty. And the question of how to accomodate Islam has everywhere proved vexed. But the generals should stop and think: in modern history such immense obstacles have never been overcome by violence.”

    Post script: vis-a-vis President Obama’s Egyptian foreign policy options, “there is very little he can do about the present state of political play in Egypt” (talk like an idealist though practicing realism sums it up).

  • vepxistqaosani

    What is the hope for Egypt? It cannot feed its people and has, so far as I can see, no prospect of being able to do so over the next few decades at least. It is wholly dependent on the Gulf states and the West to keep its people from North Korean levels of starvation.

    Is there anyone with any plausible notion how Egypt — democratic, totalitarian, Islamist, whatever — and its people can create a functioning, self-sufficient economy?

  • koblog

    “But first the generals have to make the MB and the salafis to their ‘right’….”

    The Muslim Brotherhood and the salafis want a totalitarian government with ultimate power over the people — how they dress, what they eat, what they read, how they worship, and, most of all, who is in control and decides what is “correct.”

    An ever-growing central government — that’s the central tenet of all totalitarian political schemes (Marxist or National Socialist), Islam and the left, not the right.

    Notice too, that Obama likes the Muslim Brotherhood, has supported it and has not condemned it. He’s very consistent with leftist thought.

  • Mysticbeetle

    Re.. the Authors statement: “it is bound to sire a new generation of Islamist terrorists.”
    That alone sums up the article and our progressive dimocrat and rino ignorance. There are no “new” islamic terrorists.

    The MB and all the other factions in the ME have been/will be terrorists until they are isolated from the civilized world or eliminated from the civilized world.

  • Rich K

    The Saudis have a half trillion dollars of foreign reserves to throw at the generals and we have 17 trillion in worldwide debt. Do The MATH.Things will get done how the Saudis want them done, Not us.

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