August 16, 2013

US to Islamists: Elections are for chumps. Go get your AK-47.

Here's a not too bad article from Peter Beinart in the Daily Beast.  Titled Obama's Greatest Failure, it's a criticism of Obama for not calling the Egyptian coup a coup and thereby encouraging what the Egyptian military is now doing.  Obviously by contrasting any aspect of Obama's foreign policy with any other indicates support for Obama but it does have some interesting insights and useful turns of phrase.  An example is that in the heading above.  Here it is again:
To anyone in the Muslim world who needed convincing, it now looks unmistakably clear that the United States favors democracy in the Middle East when, and only when, our side wins. If you’re an Islamist who has now watched the United States wink at coups against democratically elected Islamist governments in Algeria and Egypt, and sought to foment one among the Palestinians after Hamas’ democratic election in 2006, the message is clear: Elections are for chumps. Go get your AK-47.
He then spoils the whole thing by making out that Obama is basically wellmeaning and that he has presidential antecedents for that wellmeaningness:
By historical standards, the Obama administration has presided over few genuine foreign-policy disasters. That’s no accident. Its self-consciously Hippocratic approach—modeled on world-weary pragmatists like Dwight Eisenhower and George H.W. Bush—is designed to avoid them.
Hippocratic?  Hmm, bit of a typo that.

I think Mr Beinart is missing the point here that there is nothing happening in Egypt that's hurting the USA in standard foreign policy terms.  Earlier in the piece we have this:
There’s a reasonable argument that nothing Obama did would have mattered. The Persian Gulf states, which adored the coup, quickly offered Egypt far more money than the U.S. could have withheld.
Ah, there's a possible error by Obama. The coup he wants could have happened and remained in place and the US could have even saved itself some money. Beinart obviously doesn't see it that way.
And there's more:  
it’s not as if the administration remained passive. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns worked hard to bring the Brotherhood and the military together. The White House even sent two of its domestic tormenters, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, to Cairo to try to hatch a deal.
So they could have saved money and still looked like they were making nice.

Obviously Obama is not quite my cup of tea.  He's had lots of people killed and he still keeps lots of people in Guantanamo and yet he claims his biggest moral failing was smoking a joint as a teenager or some such. I also don't like the way phony liberals make him out to be somehow to the left of George W. Bush.  Anyway, Peter Beinart here is noting, possibly inadvertently, that there are bigger moral failings than taking drugs as a youngster. Give the man a prize!

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