Thursday, December 08, 2011

Glick's JPost OpEd is a Mess of Mischarecterizations (Part 1)

I have a few short notes of response to Caroline Glick's 12/5/11 oped in the Jerusalem Post. For the sake of the discussion, and clarity, I'll separate my points into individual posts. 

Regarding Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Obama she writes:

Given Egypt's singular importance to US strategic interests in the Arab world, the Obama administration’s response to the calamitous election results has been shocking. Rather than sound the alarm bells, US President Barack Obama has celebrated the results as a victory for “democracy.” Rather than warn Egypt that it will face severe consequences if it completes its Islamist transformation...

Yet here is Joe Robert Gibbs speaking on behalf of the president on February 7 at a press briefing:
...those that will be involved in the discussions about what happens next in Egypt, as we have said throughout many occasions, will not be determined by us. I also think if you look at what has happened, again, over the last 10 to 14 days, I think the notion that somehow all of what you’ve seen as the result of one political faction or one set of beliefs is not at all the case. There are a whole host of elements throughout Egyptian society not represented in its current government, seeking the rights that we’ve enumerated in here that they have sought that want to be part of this discussion. And quite frankly, we strongly support democracy in Egypt.

Q But I guess --

MR. GIBBS: Hold on, let me say this. But democracy is -- again, I said probably more than a week ago -- democracy is not one group hijacking a process so that they can take power from another group that they didn’t think fairly represented their views and their rights. That’s not democracy. Democracy has to be a broad section of people that are represented in what would be a free and fair election.

Q Well, the reason I asked, in particular --

MR. GIBBS: And I think it’s important -- one more interruption -- and I think it is very important to restate as we have said many times, we will be a partner to a government that does exactly what I describe and we would expect that that partner would uphold particularly the treaties and the obligations that the government of Egypt and ultimately the people of Egypt have entered into.
As you can see, Glick is dead wrong about two things:  (1) The president does not support the Muslim Brotherhood per se, and would not support any sort of Muslim Brotherhood theocracy; also, he would not support an Egypt that failed to uphold its treaty obligations with Israel.  The point was made expressly clear by the president in his address on February 1
First, we oppose violence. And I want to commend the Egyptian military for the professionalism and patriotism that it has shown thus far in allowing peaceful protests while protecting the Egyptian people. We’ve seen tanks covered with banners, and soldiers and protesters embracing in the streets. And going forward, I urge the military to continue its efforts to help ensure that this time of change is peaceful.

Second, we stand for universal values, including the rights of the Egyptian people to freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and the freedom to access information. Once more, we’ve seen the incredible potential for technology to empower citizens and the dignity of those who stand up for a better future. And going forward, the United States will continue to stand up for democracy and the universal rights that all human beings deserve, in Egypt and around the world. [snip]

Now, it is not the role of any other country to determine Egypt’s leaders. Only the Egyptian people can do that. What is clear -- and what I indicated tonight to President Mubarak -- is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now.

Furthermore, the process must include a broad spectrum of Egyptian voices and opposition parties. It should lead to elections that are free and fair. And it should result in a government that’s not only grounded in democratic principles, but is also responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people.
This is what the president wanted to see in Egypt. Not the ascension of the Muslim Brotherhood, but free determination.

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