Posted: 08 Jul 2013 08:49 AM PDT
By Barry Rubin
Note: I beg you to read this article and I’ve never said that before. I think in the wake of the Egyptian coup, everything has come clearly together on U.S. Middle East policy. This is the most important article I’ve written in 2.5 years, since predicting the first Egyptian revolution in October 2019. Here is the story.
A statement by two National Security Council senior staff members has revealed the inner thinking of President Barack Obama. It is of incredible importance and I plead with you to read it. If you do you will comprehend fully what’s going on with U.S. foreign policy.
Egypt, Egypt, Egypt…There are more words written about this event than demonstrators in Tahrir Square. But, to quote a recent secretary of state on Benghaza, what difference does it make? A great deal indeed.
First, let’s remember that in the face of advancing totalitarianism in the Middle East, U.S. policy completely y failed. Imagine, if you wish, what would have happened with the Nazis without Winston Churchill and Great Britain in the 1930s. The U.S. government of this day was not only ready to leave Middle Easterners to their fate; it even sided with their actual or potential oppressors.
So who has been waging the battle meanwhile? The people of Iran and Turkey, who have not won because in part the United States failed to encourage the former and did not encourage the Turkish army to do what the Egyptian army did do; the embattled Tunisian and Lebanese ant-Islamists; the Saudis (at times) and the Persian Gulf Arabs (except for Qatar) and Jordan. Oh yes, and also Israel the most slandered and falsely reviled country on earth.
Second, the Benghazi affair was the model of the Obama Administration worldview: If you allow a video insulting Muslims, four American officials will be killed. If you support the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, thousands of Americans might die. This is the result of placing not politics but counterterrorism in command.
And this leads to…Barack Obama’s Big Decision
Is President Obama going to come down on the side of the Islamist ex-regime, remember this includes the Salafists in objective terms, or the new regime? What a remarkable irony that Obama endlessly apologized for past U.S. support for dictators and ended up adding a new chapter to that history and heightened anti-Americanism! Remember that one of his last conversations with ex-President Muhammad al-Mursi,
Obama told him that he still regarded him as the democratically elected president of Egypt.
Of course, Obama will have to end up recognizing the new government. The question is how much and how long he will resist that? It is pitiful to know that the best possible result is that he will accept the rulers in Cairo and continue the economic aid. In fact, he should increase it. We should not be talking punishment for the coup but in fact a rich reward, to show others which way the wind blows.
And will Obama learn more lessons from this situation. Will he stop seeking to install a regime in Syria that is worse than Mursi’s? Will he increase support for the real Iranian, Turkish, and Lebanese oppositions? Will he recognize the true strategic realities of Israel and stop seeking to install a regime like Mursi’s in the territories captured by Israel in 1967 (I refer here to Hamas, not the Palestinian Authority which might well give way to Hamas after a state would be established?)
So far though, it looks like Obama is determined to be the protector of oppressive dictatorship in Egypt. Isn’t that what Obama complained about what previous presidents had done? The Obama Administration has called on Egyptian leaders to pursue, “A transparent political process that is inclusive of all parties and groups,” including “avoiding any arbitrary arrests of Mursi and his supporters,” Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said July 4 in a statement.
I don’t recall such a statement being made in criticism of the Mursi regime. According to Bloomburg News, “Two U.S. officials who asked not to be identified commenting on[Obama\s]private communications—I assume it was really because they were too ashamed– said the administration is concerned that some in the military may want to provoke the violence and provide a rationale for crushing the movement once and for all.”
Then comes a critical statement that explains Obama Middle East policy. Pay close attention to this:
“Such a move would fail and probably prompt a shift to al-Qaeda type terrorist tactics by extremists in the Islamist movement in Egypt and elsewhere, the U.S. officials said.”
What is this saying? Remember this is a White House policy statement. That of the Muslim Brotherhood or perhaps the Salafists are denied power in Muslim-majority countries they cannot be defeated but that they will be radicalized so that they will launch September 11 style attacks on America.
In other words, the United States must surrender and betray its allies or else it faces disaster. This is called surrender and appeasement. And, besides, such a move would fail. There is a coherent Obama policy. Inquire no more, that is it.
And that’s why, for example, it wants the Turkish and Egyptian armies of accepting an Islamist regime; and Syria for getting one, too; and Israel making whatever risks or concessions required to end the conflict right away no matter what the consequences. American allies cannot win and if they try they’ll just make the Islamists angrier. I am not joking. I wish I were.
Remember what the two NSC staffers said, in representing Obama policy because they deserve and may well go down in history:
“Such a move [fighting the Islamists in Egypt would fail and probably prompt a shift to al-Qaeda type terrorist tactics by extremists in the Islamist movement in Egypt and elsewhere.”
The Obama Administration, on the basis of the John Brennan Doctrine—the current CIA director—has given up the battle. The Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists are holding the United States for ransom. The demand for releasing (not attacking) the United States is the Middle East.
Naturally, this is also involved in domestic politics since the Obama Administration will be largely judged by voters—including in the 2014 congressional elections—on whether they can prevent such (imaginary) attacks. The theme is consistent, just another way of protecting the American people while accumulating more votes.
It should be emphasized that aside from everyone else, this is a ridiculous U.S. strategy because the Brotherhood and Salafists haven’t even thought about this tactic This isn’t just a surrender; it’s a preemptive surrender.
§ See also, Barry Rubin, “Egypt: A Teachable Moment in World History“
Posted: 07 Jul 2013 09:51 PM PDT
The young Teddy Roosevelt studying foreign policy from his cat, Slippers. Speak softly but carry a big claw.
In this test, find which entry does not belong on this list.
1914: President Woodrow Wilson allies with Britain and France to fight autocracy in World War One and “make the world safe for democracy.”
1941: President Franklin Roosevelt allies with Britain, France, and the USSR to fight fascism and destroy it.
1947: President Harry Truman allies with the Free World to fight Communist aggression and liberate captive nations.
1950: President Dwight Eisenhower confronts Communist aggression in South Korea with the UN as allies.
1991: President George Bush leads an international alliance to repel an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
2001: President George W. Bush leads the American people in retaliating to the September 11 attacks on America in Afghanistan against totalitarian Islamist groups.
2013: President Barak Obama forms an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood to install an anti-American Islamist state in Syria to join such U.S. “allies” as Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon and Turkey on behalf of the Sunni Sharia World; to make the world safe for authoritarian religious dictatorships, antisemitism and those who would wipe Israel off the map, unrepentant Nazi allies, jihad against Christianity, subjecting women to second-class status, and murdering of gay people. Then to forge these ties stronger he defends an overthrown Egyptian Islamist regime insisting that it should at least participate in a coalition government earlier just to make sure that it has a share of power so that, no doubt, American values should be represented.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
By Barry Rubin
One of the key factors about revolutionary Islamism is that it is an innately ant-American and racist doctrine. Usually this is seen through antisemitism or ant-Christian views (since in the case of Islam, religion now seems to have been reintepreted as a race when convenient) but sometimes there are different, but not highly publicized examples, such as the racism employed against Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Palestinian and other Arabic newspaper cartoons.
Can you imagine how the United States would react if someone said something like what Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has just said. Remember that President Barack Obama has flattered endlessly the radical Turkish leader, ignoring insults and the subversion of U.S. interests. Erdogan seems to be Obama’s ideal leader, a “moderate Islamist.” Obama has turned over U.S. Syrian policy to Turkish regime direction.
Yet despite Obama’s pro-Islamist policy, Erdogan is blaming him for the fall of Egypt’s government!
This is despite the fact that the increasingly repressive Erdogan has publicly blamed the opposition to him as a Jewish plot. Perhaps with the U.S. government supporting the Muslim Brotherhood antisemitism is no longer a detriment to Obama Administration backing.
But what does Erdogan really think of Obama?
As customary last Tuesday Erdogan addressed his AKP party group in the parliament.
As usual, part of his speech was devoted to ridiculing Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the opposition, secular-oriented Republican Peoples Party (CHP).
But this time he ended that part of his speech with these words:
“Kilicdaroglu is striving every bit he can to raise himself from the level of a black person (zenci in Turkish, which is the same as “Negro’) to the level of a white man.”
Might that be offensive? Might that be reported in the American mass media?
Incidentally, Kilicdaroglu is a Kurd and in a Politically Correct country that would also raise questions of whether Erdogan is a racial supremicist. One might reflect that if not for the Obama Administration the Turkish army would have acted like the Egyptian one.
Instead, dozens of Turkish military officers and journalists, among others, are in prison for years without trial. Intellectuals are intimidated. Turkish democracy is headed the same way that Egyptian democracy was.
Yet where is the Western sympathy for the Turkish opposition? Ironically, Kilicdaroglu is a social democrat yet he can expect no support compared to Erdogan’s extreme reactionary stance Obama only supports the far right when it is Islamist. The violent repression of recent demonstrations broke the media silence about ignoring Erdogan’s increasingly repressive state.
Last year the Turkish ministry of education was caught running a viciously antisemitic website and there are hundreds of other misdeeds. Millions of Turks are desperate at the tightening noose.
But not a betrayal of the United States on the Iran issue, not the Islamization of Turkish life, nor the massive arrests, nor repression, and even the subordination of U.S. Syria policy to Turkish interests, nor antisemitism is sufficient to wean Obama from his Erdogan-worship.
And neither is anti-black racism.