Uh oh: White House declines to endorse Mubarak in Egypt

posted at 2:55 pm on January 26, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

To be fair, the White House is in a tough spot, as Allahpundit noted yesterday.    We traditionally oppose dictatorships and support democratization movements.  In places like Tunisia, where democratization efforts are championed by secular, more Western-friendly forces, that’s an easy mission for the US to back.  In Egypt, however, the energy behind the political opposition comes from the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist force seeking not democracy but a new theocracy.  And if this sounds familiar, it should:

White House Declines to Say If US Still Supports Egypt’s Mubarak

Asked Wednesday whether the U.S. still supports Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs reiterated that Egypt remains “a strong ally” and stressed the importance of universal rights for the people of Egypt.

“This isn’t about support or opposition to leaders – it’s about the support universal rights of assembly and expression. We criticize actions that restrict those values,” Gibbs told ABC News.

Gibbs said that the White House is “still monitoring the situation” in Egypt, where Mubarak is the target of protesters opposing his authoritarian government.

In 1979, another US administration faced a similar problem in Iran, which had been ruled by the Shah with something less than a velvet glove.  Claims of human rights violations by the Shah and his security forces were well-documented, although the Shah had claimed — with highly dubious merit — to be modernizing and reforming his government.  (He had instituted one-party rule four years previous to the crisis, and had attempted to build a cult of personality to sustain his throne.)  The Shah fell as the result of a popular uprising, perhaps aided somewhat by the less-than-enthusiastic support given by Jimmy Carter and his administration in the preceding weeks, although to be fair again the CIA had just predicted that the Shah’s position was secure for the next decade.

Given Mubarak’s status as a de facto president-for-life and his own track record of political suppression, it’s almost impossible for Obama to endorse Mubarak.  However, by signaling sudden distance between Mubarak and the US, the impulse to stage a coup will certainly not decrease.  If Mubarak falls, the result will almost certainly be either a seizure of power by the Muslim Brotherhood or a military coup, both hardly desirable outcomes in Egpyt, especially considering its strategic position on the Suez Canal.

If the Muslim Brotherhood takes control of Egypt, Israel will suddenly face an existential threat to its south and from Gaza, as well as a new Hezbollah-run Lebanon in the north.  That’s a nightmare scenario for Israel, which has its own issues with Mubarak but nothing on the scale of what may be coming.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

a capella on January 26, 2011 at 4:32 PM

Unlike Pakistan, the MB is legally barred from all sorts of activities, political and otherwise. Pakistani taliban have a beeline into the military through the ISI and sympathetic government figures; the MB does not seem to have made such inroads into Mubarak’s government. I’m crossing my fingers, but really, I don’t see Mubarak going anywhere until he’s good and ready.

ernesto on January 26, 2011 at 4:49 PM

The Islamic Savagehood might very well take over government control, but the real question is what would the Egyptian military do? If they roll over then Egypt is lost to the jihadis, if they don’t, then what, some sort of civil war?

Either way, PBHO will be in so far over his head that he may just decide to quit the job for “family” reasons.

Bishop on January 26, 2011 at 3:37 PM

This might interest you.

Muslim honor killing in America.

Faleh Almaleki killed his daughter Noor; ran her over with his car because she was too westernized.

Geochelone on January 26, 2011 at 4:50 PM

In 1979, another US administration faced a similar problem in Iran, which had been ruled by the Shah with something less than a velvet glove.

Didn’t someone mention during the 2008 campaign that Obama sounded like a second Carter?

JackOfClubs on January 26, 2011 at 5:05 PM

Tunisia, Lebanon, Iran, and Egypt are each unique in their political culture and it is a mistake to take lessons from one and applying them to the other without accounting for those important differences.

lexhamfox on January 26, 2011 at 5:10 PM

Tunisia, Lebanon, Iran, and Egypt are each unique in their political culture and it is a mistake to take lessons from one and applying them to the other without accounting for those important differences.

lexhamfox on January 26, 2011 at 5:10 PM

However, they do have one thing in common. Iran is selling one flavor; Saudi Arabia another. I think one of our biggst mistakes here in the West is to minimize the abilities of the true fanatics to plan ahead long term and take advantage of western tolerances. These people doing the planning aren’t simple goat herders.

a capella on January 26, 2011 at 5:16 PM

This might interest you.

Muslim honor killing in America.

Faleh Almaleki killed his daughter Noor; ran her over with his car because she was too westernized.

Geochelone on January 26, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Thanks for posting that.
You know what’s so interesting here… many of the same people who would mock traditional families (where dad is the head, works.brings home the bacon while mom raises the kids) those same people who would mock that kind of thing and rage against that traditional American type dad as being abusive and too authoritarian….. say nothing at some Mulsim dad honor killing his daughter.
In fact, I remember when someone asked Obama a year or more about some of the abuses Muslims commit toward their wives and he responded some drither about respecting cultural differences.

JellyToast on January 26, 2011 at 5:55 PM

However, they do have one thing in common. Vatican City is selling one flavor; Greater Serbia another, great Britain a third flavor.

audiculous on January 26, 2011 at 6:03 PM

Tunisia, Lebanon, Iran, and Egypt are each unique in their political culture and it is a mistake to take lessons from one and applying them to the other without accounting for those important differences.

lexhamfox on January 26, 2011 at 5:10 PM

However, they do have one thing in common. Iran is selling one flavor; Saudi Arabia another. I think one of our biggst mistakes here in the West is to minimize the abilities of the true fanatics to plan ahead long term and take advantage of western tolerances. These people doing the planning aren’t simple goat herders.

a capella on January 26, 2011 at 5:16 PM

This really is a political riot rather than a cultural or religious one. The Muslim Brotherhood has not endorsed to demonstrations and seems to be standing aside.

If there is something to be wary of it is that the treatment of people taken into custody tends to radicalize people more than listening to the dogma coming from the clerics in Iran and Saudi Arabia. Al-Zawahiri was a product of Egyptian prison. There are also big demonstrations in Christian areas.

lexhamfox on January 26, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Hot Airheads ONCE AGAIN making complete fools of themselves: Hey, let’s act like supporting Mubarak is the solution and not the CAUSE of Islamist terror.

You are playing right into the hands of Ayman al-Zawahiri. Nice work, Ed.

… And right in line with some more smart positions from the brain trust at Hot Air in the last year, including screaming your support for the politicization of Toys For Tots and cheering on/ chuckling over job loss numbers last summer.

bifidis on January 26, 2011 at 6:12 PM

What trotskyite pissed in bifidis’s cheerios?

Inanemergencydial on January 26, 2011 at 6:15 PM

Incredibly, Obama going to Cairo and saying “America sucks” did not ameliorate Egypt’s various problems. Shocking.

We’ve got the worst possible president at the worst possible time. Even Carter looks competent compared to this jackass.

Django on January 26, 2011 at 6:25 PM

lexhamfox on January 26, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Sure, I agree. However, the elements are there ready for an opening, and I darsay some planning has taken place, just in case opportunity arises. I suppose one could also say that the recent Hezbollah takeover in Lebanon is political, rather than religous, but if you follow the bread crumb trail back to the origin, Iran is there. Since Islam combines political and religious elements, one could say that under Sharia there is no separation, although I understand Tunisia and Lebanon were free of that particular curse, and I’m not sure about Egypt.
At any rate, fully expect more exploitation of the masses, regardless of which strongman comes out on top.

a capella on January 26, 2011 at 6:32 PM

2 more reasons for my Allen West “Love”…

“… The office of U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, says the freshman congressman is publicly condemning the Palestine Liberation Organization, or PLO, for raising its flag outside its offices in the nation’s capital.

“The raising of this flag is an attempt to legitimize an organization with a known history of terrorist actions,” West said, in a written news release.

“By allowing this flag to be flown, the United States is extending a diplomatic right that we refrain from offering to even our own allies, like Taiwan. This action is a diplomatic slap in the face of our greatest of allies, Israel.”

He was joined by another South Florida congressperson and fellow Republican, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, in condemning the flag-raising. They’re asking President Obama and the Department of State’s Foreign Missions to yank back the permission that was given to the PLO to raise it.”

AND….

http://www.therightscoop.com/allen-west-speaks-truth-on-islam-israel

Palin/West 2012

tencole on January 26, 2011 at 6:33 PM

What trotskyite pissed in bifidis’s cheerios?

Inanemergencydial on January 26, 2011 at 6:15 PM

Dunno. Wish he would type in all caps. I can’t hear him and he seems to feel he has important info to share.

a capella on January 26, 2011 at 6:35 PM

lexhamfox on January 26, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Sure, I agree. However, the elements are there ready for an opening, and I darsay some planning has taken place, just in case opportunity arises. I suppose one could also say that the recent Hezbollah takeover in Lebanon is political, rather than religous, but if you follow the bread crumb trail back to the origin, Iran is there. Since Islam combines political and religious elements, one could say that under Sharia there is no separation, although I understand Tunisia and Lebanon were free of that particular curse, and I’m not sure about Egypt.
At any rate, fully expect more exploitation of the masses, regardless of which strongman comes out on top.

a capella on January 26, 2011 at 6:32 PM

The PM in Lebanon is not Hezbollah and is not a patron of Iran at all. He is supported by the Saudis and the Syrians.

The biggest difference between Tunisia and Egypt is the size and role that the military plays. Keep in mind that Mubarak emerged from the military and it will be interesting to see if the military breaks with the leadership.

lexhamfox on January 26, 2011 at 6:52 PM

JellyToast on January 26, 2011 at 5:55 PM

Yep…its the argument from Cultural Relativism, the tripe of Social Anthropologists. Its the idea that one cannot place value judgments on one communal group versus another because the concepts we use to judge others are incommensurable due to inherent entho-centricities or some such thing.

Its utterly bogus.

Geochelone on January 26, 2011 at 7:29 PM

bifidis on January 26, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Meh, support of Israel makes terrorists? Maybe support of terrorists makes Zionists.

Limerick on January 26, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Wonder how this will play out in view that Obama allowed anti-terror rendition to continue? The program began under Bill Clinton. One of the 3rd countries used for interrogations/renditions is/was Egpyt.

pabo on January 26, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Wow, just this week I read about it in the Bible! I will look that up and bring forward the quote.

ProudPalinFan on January 26, 2011 at 8:01 PM

Read Luke 21. From Jesus’ own words.

ProudPalinFan on January 26, 2011 at 8:03 PM

The only thing missing right now is a Palestinian uprising against the Jordanian government.

teke184 on January 26, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Snap, I don’t want anything to happen to Queen Rania!!!!

http://www.queenrania.jo/

ProudPalinFan on January 26, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Interesting times…

Things are not looking good.

AlexB on January 26, 2011 at 8:25 PM

The islamist-in-chief would love to have another (official) islamic regime.

SouthernGent on January 26, 2011 at 8:54 PM

Good heavens, let’s get our embassy personnel out of there NOW! I know that The One is Jimmy Carter’s second term, but does Obama really think that he needs to copy all of Jimmy’s screw-ups?

AZfederalist on January 26, 2011 at 9:53 PM

The islamist-in-chief would love to have another (official) islamic regime.

SouthernGent

really wonderful example of that ol’ timey simpleminded bigotry, all gussied up like and putting on airs like it’s more than it is.

audiculous on January 26, 2011 at 10:06 PM

He’s repeating Jimmy Carter’s mistake in Iran. What a coincidence that this revolution is happening now with Jimmy Carter II!

*wink*

Sorry, Egypt, it’s veils and sharia for you.

PattyJ on January 26, 2011 at 11:14 PM

audiculous on January 26, 2011 at 10:06 PM

Sort of like your simpleminded hypocrisy.

Cindy Munford on January 26, 2011 at 11:16 PM

Where does the attitude that America has some say in this come from? If Obama was competent , this wouldn’t happen? If a Republican were in office this wouldn’t happen?

Writing cheques to Islam doesn’t give you a say. The Muslims view it as your way of saying you are subservient and will part with wealth and pride to avoid injury from Islam and buy a temporary peace. If anyone in authority in America studied what drives Islam, they would know that.

But, like the Barbie Doll said, “Islam is hard”.

BL@KBIRD on January 27, 2011 at 12:05 AM

audiculous on January 26, 2011 at 10:06 PM

You need some new material, kid.

Del Dolemonte on January 27, 2011 at 12:16 AM

Sort of like your simpleminded hypocrisy.

Cindy Munford

sorry, Cindy, but no dice.

audiculous on January 27, 2011 at 12:16 AM

audiculous on January 27, 2011 at 12:16 AM

No, your outrage is extremely selective and that’s fine, just don’t think that it goes unnoticed.

Cindy Munford on January 27, 2011 at 12:24 AM

Cindy,

I’m flattered that you afford me notice and I’ll strive to be more widely outraged.

audiculous on January 27, 2011 at 12:34 AM

audiculous on January 27, 2011 at 12:34 AM

No, you should be who you are, that’s why you are here.

Cindy Munford on January 27, 2011 at 12:40 AM

that’s why you are here.

I came to Hot Air for the waters.

(either that or because one of the Green Room authors asked it of me.)

audiculous on January 27, 2011 at 1:03 AM

Well, many posited Obama would serve out Carter’s 2nd term. So now our grandchildren will be paying the price for both Carter and Obama’s deeply troubled foreign policy.

Wolf Howling on January 27, 2011 at 1:36 AM

Mubarak #86: This is typical elitist mannerism, shedding whatever is uncomfortable as if any former coexistence never was. Most certainly, Nevermore.

We traditionally oppose dictatorships and support democratization movements. — Ed Morrissey, neoconservative

There’s an Ed WTF moment, ignoring 20th Century American history from whence “traditions” are recognizable.

Jean Kirkpatrick wrote and spoke Reagan’s administrative neoconservative policy on record for those interested in the distinction between scholarly documentation v. revisionist fabrication regarding what “we traditionally oppose” to contrast ideal with reality.

Since Wilson’s “democratic” authoritarian League of Nations, American international affairs have preferred working through foreign strongman regimes than the chaotic and volatile democratic process through which it was so hard for American interests to control foreign affairs. FDR preferred Stalin to Churchill, not simply on basis of personality but on principles. And FDR preferred Stalin to Hitler on shared Marxist preference for the communist to the fascist versions of authoritarian governance. (Morons need not attack Hitler as antisemitic without attacking Stalin all the more, given recorded death tolls.)

Since Wilson, the only time the USA literally, militarily or economically opposes a dictator is when attacked. Otherwise, statistically, Congress actually funds dictatorships considered by US industry as “friendly” or has “potential” for massive profit. And congressional funds are TAXPAYER TAXES paid and collected to provide the core necessities for public interest (highways). Tax funds are not some profit from an investment available for reinvestment. Our given, current circumstance is that our national debt equals our national/domestic gross product, and interest rates on our debt increase the debt exponentially faster than taxes could ever be accrued, and congress is spending more than it collects in taxes.

Now, however, “US industry” functioning abroad no longer has any loyalty to US national interests, as industry is now globalist, and globalism is authoritarian by nature.

And now, Obama has forfeited all together our nation’s business intelligence technology “gifted” to Russia, China, NATO and “Muslim nations” in so-called cooperative/collaborative international “outreach” efforts for authoritarian globalist alliance.

maverick muse on January 27, 2011 at 10:40 AM

But, like the Barbie Doll said, “Islam is hard”.

BL@KBIRD on January 27, 2011 at 12:05 AM

good

maverick muse on January 27, 2011 at 10:43 AM

when someone asked Obama a year or more about some of the abuses Muslims commit toward their wives and he responded some drither about respecting cultural differences.

JellyToast on January 26, 2011 at 5:55 PM

And again last week with Hu, when questioned why he ignores China’s grotesque civil rights abuses, Obama’s perfunctory Ivy League answer was that we have different systems of government. Even that formal Ivy League distinction Obama would remove by dissolving the efficacy of the US Constitution as he is.

(…Ridiculous TIME, contrasting Reagan to the “IVY LEAGUE LAWYER” Obama before affixing the Reagan mask over Obama’s image.)

maverick muse on January 27, 2011 at 10:54 AM

It’s evident that to suppress theocratic terorists in Islamic lands you need a strong “secular” military.

Those who would run strong military against terrorists in their midst must be tough characters.

If you support weak characters to replace them, they will be swept aside by the terrorists, who place no concern for “civilian” casualties, only results.

Power, in Islamic states, goes to the most ruthless, because Islam promotes nothing else.

Either ruthless “secularists” or ruthless theocrats.

I’m for ruthless “secularists”, given these two stark choices.

profitsbeard on January 27, 2011 at 11:09 AM

I’m not certain who deserves credit but the quote still fits:
“The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who in time of crisis remain neutral”.
Dithering once again.

diogenes on January 27, 2011 at 5:56 PM

Well, I see “The One” is no longer dithering. A subsequent HA post indicates he is likely to dump on Mubarak. A hat tip to Hillary for such exceptional work. /sarc

diogenes on January 27, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Barry’s standard vote: Present.

Big John on January 27, 2011 at 10:38 PM

Boy, all this “smart diplomacy” sure is getting expensive . . .

Adjoran on January 28, 2011 at 5:10 AM

The middle-east changes from thugocracy to theocracy. More endless gang warfare. As there remains no such thing as a competent Arab military, our ally Israel will once again mop the floor with them. This time, I hope, her post-conflict strategic military gains (e.g. land) will not be surrendered through negotiation.

trl on January 28, 2011 at 6:09 PM

Comment pages: 1 2