The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Really Dumb Things

When supporters of the President and his many media spokespeople gushed about the so-called Egyptian “freedom revolution,” a few of us in the Center suggested that throwing pro-Western dictator Hosni Mubarak under the bus might not be such a good idea. I wrote at the time that the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) would be the likely beneficiary and that counter to the prevailing media narrative at the time, the MB is anti-Western and Islamist to the core. There are no moderate members of the MB.

Sadly, the President and his team of advisors seemed unable to process this simple fact. Mubarak is now gone and MB has already won major political referenda and is the front runner to take over Egypt in September. Most of the media, like ADD childrem arer now busy thinking of reasons to support the President’s ill-conceived intervention in Libya, and have forgotten about Egypt.

The Richmond Times Dispatch is an exception. In an editorial, they write:
The Egyptian Revolution inspired hopes and summoned memories. During the heady days of protests against Hosni Mubarak's regime, Cairo's Tahrir Square seemed to resemble images from Czechoslovakia and other satellites that rose against communism in the Velvet Revolution. Reports suggested Egypt was experiencing a liberal uprising relatively free of religious fundamentalism and ideological stridency. It might have been.

During a recent visit to Egypt, The Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens met with a friend he described as Muslim by birth but secular by choice. The friend and others told him that Americans have no idea of what is happening on the ground. Experts indeed remain innocents abroad. There is no progressive influence to speak of; the military and Islamist factions command the field. The Muslim Brotherhood is not the most extreme player, either.

It seems that the identical mistakes made in Egypt are being made in Libya and at the same time, countries where intervention might be warranted (e.g., Syria, Yemen) are being ignored by our strategists (I use that term very, very loosely). In Libya, it appears that at best we don’t know who the rebels really are. At worse, they have been infiltrated by Al Qaida and other extremists.

Now the President suggests that it might be necessary to provide the Libyan rebels with weapons. Wasn’t it the President’s supporters on the Left who roundly criticized U.S policy that armed the radical, Islamist Taliban in Afghanistan during the 1990s? Looks to me like Barack Obama is doing the same thing, but this time ignoring hindsight provided by recent history. And I keep being told that he’s such a smart guy.

It is true that the Middle East is in turmoil and that there are no easy answers. No question. But doing really dumb things, supporting really bad guys in their efforts to displace other really bad guys, and ignoring strategic opportunities while conducting war in the name of “humanitarianism,” is just plain dumb. It doesn’t serve the interests of the United States and does nothing to help the Middle East climb out of the cesspool that has flooded the entire Arab crescent.