It might be hard for you to imagine covering the democratic uprising in Egypt as a way to reflect upon all the wise things you've written in the past. But you're not Tom Friedman. He wrote today (New York Times, 2/11/11): I spent part of the morning in the square watching and photographing a group of young Egyptian students wearing plastic gloves taking garbage in both hands and neatly scooping it into black plastic bags to keep the area clean. This touched me in particular because more than once in this column I have quoted the aphorism that "in the […]
The United States sent former ambassador Frank Wisner to Egypt to talk to Hosni Mubarak. Wisner garnered headlines when he declared support for Mubarak staying in power, causing the White House to try and argue that wasn't the message the White House was trying to send. But Wisner's background was worth more attention. As Pratap Chatterjee reported (Inter Press Service, 2/4/11): Frank Wisner, the former U.S. ambassador that President Barack Obama dispatched to Cairo earlier this week to advise President Hosni Mubarak, is employed by Patton Boggs, a law firm and registered lobbyist. On its website Patton Boggs summarises the […]
In yesterday's Washington Post (2/6/11), David Broder likened the U.S. position on Egypt to being a fan of the hapless Chicago Cubs: Big things are happening all around you, but you have noway to do anything about it. That is the reality that confronts President Obama today. His hands are tied while Egypt erupts. At first he expressed support and sympathy for the democratic forces filling the streets and appreciation for the Egyptian military holding fire. But when it became clear that Mubarak was on his way out, sooner or later, it dawned on everyone that the Muslim Brotherhood might […]
From the Friday broadcast of the PBS NewsHour (2/4/11) came a discussion about how the U.S. supports dictators–which elicited some chuckles. Remember, Mark Shields is the one who plays the "left" on the program. MARK SHIELDS: Just one little point of personal privilege on Joe Biden, who did take a hit for not being able to say dictator, but in United States politics, I mean, it's always been, if someone is on our side, he is a strongman. (LAUGHTER) MARK SHIELDS: If he is on the other side, he is a dictator. I mean, that has sort of been the […]
There have been some interesting, informative TV coverage of Egypt. And then there was last night's Charlie Rose (2/3/11), with special guests Tom Friedman and Henry Kissinger.
Displaying the same allergy to actual democracy shown by Joe Klein (FAIR Blog, 2/3/11), Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer (2/4/11) calls, like Klein, for a military regime in Egypt to impose a "period of stability" for "guiding the country to free elections"–the kind of "free elections" in which the military will "guarantee" that the right people "prevail." The breathtaking hypocrisy of Krauthammer's column–which begins "Who doesn't love a democratic revolution?"–is on view in this passage: Our paramount moral and strategic interest in Egypt is real democracy in which power does not devolve to those who believe in one man, one […]
Sometimes words fail. Joe Klein, writing in the new issue of Time, wonders: How on earth do we get saddled with such creepy clients as Karzai and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, over and over again? Yes, why do they keep doing this to us?! His piece is a pox-on-both-houses rant about U.S. foreign policy: The "realists" often end up coddling dictators, and the idealists don't understand how the world works. Of the latter, he writes: the tangible fruits of the Freedom Agenda turned out to be mostly rotten: elections in the Palestinian territories, which no one but Hamas (and Bush) […]
NBC Nightly News reporter Richard Engel held up a tear gas canister on the air to show that it was stamped "Made in the USA." But something else he said on the January 28, 2011 newscast struck me: But what's scattered on the streets of Cairo right now are these little canisters. These were the tear gas canisters that were fired by all those riot police today. And if you look at them closely, they say clearly in English, "Made in the USA." Egyptians have been picking them up, they've been looking them over. And from an Egyptian perspective, it […]