Obama’s cold-blooded defense of Egyptian regime
(WSWS.org) -- by Bill Van Auken --
The Obama administration’s cynical and reactionary policy toward Egypt won telling praise Monday from the right-wing New York Times columnist Ross Douthat. Entitled “Obama the realist,” Douthat’s column ostensibly defended Obama from right-wing criticism.
“On nearly every anti-terror front, from detainee policy to drone strikes, the Obama administration has been…maintaining or even expanding the powers that George W. Bush claimed in the aftermath of 9/11,” the column states.
While noting that the administration’s “entire approach to international affairs looks like a continuation of the Condoleezza Rice-Robert Gates phase of the Bush administration,” Douthat adds approvingly that “Obama’s response to the Egyptian crisis has crystallized his entire foreign policy vision.”
Dismissing criticism from the likes of Fox News, he adds: “It’s clear that the administration’s real goal has been to dispense with Mubarak while keeping the dictator’s military subordinates very much in charge. If the Obama White House has its way, any opening to democracy will be carefully stage-managed by an insider like Omar Suleiman, the former general and Egyptian intelligence chief who’s best known in Washington for his cooperation with the C.I.A.’s rendition program. This isn’t softheaded peacenik dithering. It’s cold-blooded realpolitik.”
These observations are substantially correct. What is to account for the Obama administration’s policy?
The upheavals that have gripped Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and smaller cities and towns in this ancient nation of 80 million are not part of some color-coded “revolution,” coordinated between Washington and privileged social layers to oust a regime that is out of sync with US policy and interests.
On the contrary, the Egyptian uprising has been dominated by the working class and its demands for an end to the mass unemployment, pervasive poverty and grotesque levels of social inequality that are the defining features of present day Egypt. It has deeply shaken one of Washington’s most valued and long-standing client states in the geo-strategically critical region of the Middle East.
Some in the media have described the Obama administration as bumbling in relation to the Egyptian events, its policy supposedly characterized by “mixed messages” and an appearance of being “at sea.”
The administration went from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s description of the Mubarak regime as stable and Vice President Joe Biden’s praise for the dictator to, just days later, Obama’s declarations of solidarity with the demonstrators and calls for an immediate and “orderly transition,” which was widely interpreted in the media as a call for Mubarak’s resignation. This was followed by a declaration on the part of the White House spokesman that the time for this transition was “yesterday.”
Then, over the weekend, came the public statement by Frank Wisner, the former ambassador to Cairo tapped by the Obama administration to serve as its envoy to Mubarak.
Speaking at a security conference in Munich, Wisner declared, “President Mubarak remains utterly critical in the days ahead as we sort our way toward the future.” He added that the dictator “must stay in office in order to steer those changes through.”
The State Department immediately responded that Wisner was speaking in a personal capacity and had not cleared his remarks first with the US government. While mortified that Wisner had the audacity to say publicly what the administration—behind all its phony rhetoric about democracy—is actually doing, no one disputed the content of Wisner’s statement. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs found a somewhat more elegant way to echo Wisner’s view, declaring that the issue was one of “process not personality.”
Unifying the various fluctuations in the administration’s statements are the basic interests of the US financial elite and its state apparatus, committed to maintaining Egypt as a key bulwark of repression and reaction throughout the Middle East.
The administration’s choice of Wisner for an envoy was no mistake. He is a man who embodies the deep concern of US imperialism in the fate of the Mubarak regime. Wisner went from being a US ambassador to a key player in the Democratic Party-linked lobbying firm, Patton Boggs, which counts Mubarak and the Egyptian regime among its premier clients.
Among the services rendered by the firm is ironing out any wrinkles in the $1.3 billion in US military aid that is dispensed to the Egyptian regime annually. These massive sums are not funneled solely into the pockets of the Egyptian military brass and Mubarak’s multibillion-dollar bank accounts. Of the $60 billion in total US aid supplied since Mubarak came to power 30 years ago, half has been doled out to major US military contractors, who depend upon the aid package—second only to the one delivered to Israel—for a substantial share of their profits...MORE...LINK
Chris Moore comments:
And imagine this: left-wingers, socialists, left-liberals, neoliberals, neocons and Bushcons want to take the already corrupt, unaccountable and untouchable leviathan and grow it even larger and more intrusive!
It just goes to show unaccountable power corrupts, and absolute unaccountable power corrupts absolutely. No wonder the most insatiable, power-mad and money hungry criminal elements of society under the Soviet system simply made their way into Big Government and enriched themselves that way.
We have a similar, pseudo-free market phenomenon going on in America today, where the insatiable predators and self-serving opportunists like Wisner simply dash in and out of Big Government "service," working their own angles and lining their own pockets along the way.
Under a diffuse, decentralized political system of local accountability, and without a far removed, untouchable central government prescribing more easy money heroin as the "solution" in order to get the world hooked on the central banking racket (e.g. "Helicopter" Ben Bernanke), such epic graft, theft, corruption and politically-engineered murder would be impossible.
But Big Government worshippers and the various grifter classes at leviathan's teets want to take an already out-of-control monstrosity and offer it up even MORE calories to gorge upon, apparently as a way of funnelling ever more calories to themselves.
What's it called when such a huge percentage of the population is vested in an utterly ruinous, extortionist and bankrupting racket that eats its own young to keep the wine flowing?
How about 'Going To Hell In A Handbasket.'
And unless we wise up fast, things will only get hotter from here.