Friday, August 16, 2013

From the "With friends like these" file...

...the New Republic is a leftist publication.

//The best defense I can muster for Team Obama's pathetic response to the events of the last month in Egypt is that the men and women in charge of American foreign policy simply don't mind looking foolish. No, really: Obama has espoused the generally astute opinion that the immediate reaction of the American president is not the most important aspect of every worrying development on the planet. Not all problems can be fixed by a show of American strength or outrage or willpower. And really, in the grand scheme of things, whether the administration looks silly or weak is less meaningful than whether it is effective.

Alas, this quasi-defense doesn't apply in the case of Egypt, where the death toll from the last 24 hours stands above 500. (Injuries are at about 3,700.) Not only has the administration looked weak and unprepared, but it looks unintelligent, too. The New York Times had several superb articles on the "crisis" today—as an aside, I wonder if people would use words like "crisis" if the Iranian mullahs had just slaughtered hundreds of people—but the one that caught my eye concerned the comments from the admistration yesterday. As Mark Landler and Michael R. Gordon somewhat snidely (and appropriately) put it:


[Secretary of State] Kerry announced no punitive measures, while President Obama, vacationing here on Martha’s Vineyard, had no public reaction. As his chief diplomat was speaking of a “pivotal moment for Egypt,” the president was playing golf at a private club.
Today, however, President Obama made a longish statement, but he sounded just as vacillating as ever. He began by saying, "The relationship between the United States and Egypt goes back decades," adding pointlessly that Egypt was "an ancient center of civilization." He then said that "the United States strongly condemns" what has happened in the last day, and continued by saying, "We have sustained our commitment" to Egypt, which I assume means aid. The big moment of the speech: when he said he was "cancelling a joint military exercise" with Egypt and was going to "assess implications" with his national security team. "America cannot determine the future in Egypt," he concluded.

It was not an impressive performance. The president kept tripping over himself, first claiming that America follows its values, then talking about American interests, and making no attempt to synthesize the two. //


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