The Islamist leader who just seized dictatorial powers in Egypt gave protestors the finger tonight, saying he would stand by the decree under which he ceded himself control of the country, and declaring he would not tolerate efforts to overthrow him.
Obama phoned the newly minted tyrant, Mohamed Morsi, and asked him to try to be nice. From the White House:
President Obama called President Morsi today to express his deep concern about the deaths and injuries of protesters in Egypt. The President emphasized that all political leaders in Egypt should make clear to their supporters that violence is unacceptable. He welcomed President Morsi’s call for a dialogue with the opposition but stressed that such a dialogue should occur without preconditions.
The President noted that the United States has also urged opposition leaders to join in this dialogue without preconditions. He reiterated the United States’ continued support for the Egyptian people and their transition to a democracy that respects the rights of all Egyptians. The President underscored that it is essential for Egyptian leaders across the political spectrum to put aside their differences and come together to agree on a path that will move Egypt forward.
Instead of such rank evenhandedness, what Obama should have said is: RESCIND YOUR SEIZURE OF POWER OR DO WITHOUT U.S. FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE, JERK.
It might be worth reviewing the highfalutin verbiage that emerged from Obama as he spoke to the Egyptian people from the Grand Foyer of the White House February 1, 2011. He pretended he was standing strong for universal values. But really, he was just shoving aside a long-standing U.S. ally, Hosni Mubarak, whom he had supported just days before.
Because if Obama was about freedom for the Egyptian people, we’d be hearing similar words from him tonight as well.
This is what he said as he pulled the rug out from under Mubarak:
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 . . . 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 . . .
All of us who are privileged to serve in positions of political power do so at the will of our people . . .
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 . . .
Over the last few days, the passion and the dignity that has been demonstrated by the people of Egypt has been an inspiration to people around the world, including here in the United States, and to all those who believe in the inevitability of human freedom.
To the people of Egypt, particularly the young people of Egypt, I want to be clear: We hear your voices.
This was, we can now see for certain, a bunch of – well, gosh – a bunch of crap.
Apparently, we don’t stand for universal values. We stand for whomever we think is in a position of power.
The Egyptian revolution didn’t result in a government that’s “grounded in democratic principles.” It resulted in what is surely the beginning of a new tyranny, although somehow one Obama finds less inhospitable than Mubarak’s.
While the Egyptians struggle to keep alight the last embers of their fading revolution, here’s what Obama was up to tonight:
Instead of trying to shore up Mubarak or arrange a transfer of power to a government friendly to the United States and better for the Egyptian people, Obama vacillated and then fell in with the protestors. In the years before, he – and George W. Bush, by the way – did nothing for press for reforms in Egypt that might have depressurized the situation before it blew up into an Islamic revolution.
Obama’s failure in Egypt will haunt the United States for years, perhaps decades. And his hypocrisy will serve as a warning to those who in the future put trust in his promises to support freedom.