We said there would be a price to be paid for having a boob in the White House. We stated that American policy must be to prevent interests such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran, Syria, from intervening in Egyptian affairs. We warned that the perils in Egypt were many and that the demonstrations in the streets could take a very dangerous course.
At Tienanmen the Chinese people rose up in a year when several communist governments had already been crushed by people power and usually silent Western intervention. In cities throughout China there were uprisings. For seven weeks the demonstrations grew in number and power and the government appeared to be in danger and fearful. Tienanmen Square, usually reserved for demonstrations of governmental power, was occupied far longer than Tahrir Square in Egypt. The People’s Liberation Army, we were repeatedly assured, would never fire on the people. Then in one June night it was over. As PUMA PAC details, violence is a very useful tool.
Did anyone really believe that Egypt was Czechoslovakia? Did anyone really believe that the Velvet Revolution and the Velvet Divorce which gave peaceful birth to the Czech Republic and Slovakia would be replicated in Egypt? The question in Egypt always was how violence would break out and who would employ violence first. Mubarak has been the first to covertly throw the first stone, but there should be no delusion that the stones would fly sometime.
The New York Times yesterday published a very rosy scenario for Egypt and a lovely portrait of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is an Op-ed article called “Egypt’s Bumbling Brotherhood”. We hope the op-ed piece is on target. In the op-ed article we are told that Americans and Europeans have little or nothing to fear as to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The article states that the Muslim Brotherhood has tried to get power in Egypt but that “in 83 years it has botched every opportunity”. We are told the Muslim Brotherhood is “marginal” to the “spirit of revolt” in today’s Arab world.
The op-ed further tells us that “The error was compounded when the Brotherhood threw in its lot with Mohamed ElBaradei” because ElBaradei only impresses fools in the West. The op-ed tells us that the Muslim Brotherhood has forsworn violence, has a rivalry with Al Qaeda, is too centrist for real radicals, is against Israel but Egyptians don’t want that, and:
“What we are seeing in Egypt is a revolt led by digitally informed young people and joined by families from all rungs of society. Though in one sense it happened overnight, many of its young proponents have long been working behind the scenes, independent of the Brotherhood or any old guard opposition.”
The op-ed ends with this:
“But there is little reason for the United States to fear a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood. If Egypt is allowed to find its own way, as it so promisingly began to do over the past week, the problems of violent extremism and waves of emigration that America and Europe most fear from this unhappy region could well fade as its disaffected youth at last find hope at home.”
Let’s hope against hope that the op-ed is absolutely correct in it’s assessments. Our fingers are crossed and our prayers are directed towards our total humiliation and the triumph of the analysis in that op-ed. We hope we are totally wrong, that the Egyptian events are a true wave of democracy and that all the region’s dictators will be sent packing and that soon we will hear celestial choirs and a democratic wave of peace and wonderfulness and pie. We hope for all that, but we don’t think so. We remember that “bros before hos” Obama T-shirt.
We think that op-ed is demented. It is as demented as those who think that if Mubarak leaves all will return to normal and that Egypt has no role for the United States to play. This type of personality driven analysis (“Mubarak is the problem”) and foolish traumpolitik which suggests that countries are somehow isolated and therefore the United States has no role in Egypt are the opposite of what we suggest – a coldblooded realpolitik analysis of American interests.
That New York Times op-ed nonsense was followed today by an article in the news section of the New York Times called “As Islamist Group Rises, Its Intentions Are Unclear”:
“After maintaining a low profile in protests largely by secular young Egyptians, the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest opposition force, appeared to be taking on a more assertive role Thursday, issuing a statement asking for President Hosni Mubarak to step aside for a transitional government. [snip]
But one of the few near-certainties of a post-Mubarak Egypt is that the Muslim Brotherhood will emerge as a powerful political force.
The unanswered question, according to experts on the region, is whether that will prove a manageable challenge for the United States and Israel or a catastrophe for American interests in the Middle East. [snip]
Mr. Hamid said the Muslim Brotherhood’s deep hostility to Israel — which reflects majority public opinion in Egypt — will pose difficulties for American policy. Its conservative views on the rights of women and intolerance of religious minorities are offensive by Western standards.”
“Bros before Hos” – after all it is not the Muslim Sisterhood. Those that advocate a role for the Muslim Brotherhood are spouting nonsense for whatever reason. “’Yes, in their heart of hearts, they hate Israel,” Mr. Hamid said”. They also have a fear and hatred of women and will not tolerate other religious belief systems – or atheists for that matter.
In that news article, as opposed to the traumpolitik op-ed, we are informed that the Muslim Brotherhood has renounced violence but only “as a means of achieving power in Egypt”. We are enlightened that:
“The group did not, however, reject violence in other circumstances, and its leaders have endorsed acts of terrorism against Israel and against American troops in Iraq.”
Is that clear enough? Not for George Soros. George Soros blames Israel for the problems in Egypt. George Soros thinks the Muslim Brotherhood and Mohamed ElBaradei are just ducky. According to Soros the Muslim Brotherhood will play a “constructive role” and “The main stumbling block is Israel.”
When the protests first began in Egypt, I was in constant contact with an Egyptian relative who is a successful businessman, university professor and astute student of world politics. As my husband and I panicked for our family’s safety, this relative was calm, assuring me that Hosni Mubarak would appoint an interim government and that there would likely be an important role for Omar Suileman, who is a well respected leader in Egypt. Both these things quickly came true. Day after day he assured me that everything would be fine. He was sure that the Muslim Brotherhood—which he regards as a radical Islamist group – was not organized enough to gain any significant power.
Today, he was not so calm. Our family in Egypt is shocked and alarmed by what they are hearing from Western voices and even the apparent leading opposition candidate Mohamed ElBaradei—who has partnered with the Muslim Brotherhood — who claim that the Brotherhood is a moderate group that should not be feared.
As Coptic Christians—native Egyptians who comprise the largest religious minority in the Middle East—they are especially attuned to the double-speak of Islamist groups trying to attain power.
During the last elections, the Brotherhood’s slogan was “Islam is the solution.” Its logo is a black flag with a sword and the Koran.
This reminded me of a trip my husband and I made to Saudi Arabia last year. While driving in from the airport we passed a gigantic statue of a gold sword. I asked our guide what the inscription said, and he told me that it was from the Koran and translated to, “Sometimes the sword is better than words.”
Powers is sure to be accused of Muslim bashing. But Powers is engaged in looking reality in the face and reporting the results of that experience. No doubt there are many Muslims and Arabs engaged in the protests in Egypt who just want to live their lives and be the equivalent of “cafeteria Catholics”. This type of Catholic accepts the basic tenets of Catholicism but rejects certain aspects of church teaching (such as on abortion).
“Cafeteria Muslims” who also want to live their lives and not live by the sword are the ones we cheer on. But there are certain well funded, well organized Muslims who indeed do want to live by the sword.
Our politics, in regard to the various strains and elements in the Arab/Muslim world, should be guided by reality – not by dreams and hopes. It is realpolitik versus traumpolitik, or dream politics.
Kirsten Powers gazes in wonder at the traumpolitik dementia at Brookings and segments of the left:
“I spent much of yesterday interviewing American experts on the region—including two Brookings Institution scholars who are experts on the Muslim Brotherhood—and was reassured over and over that the organization has reformed and does not seek to establish a fundamentalist state. One claimed that Brotherhood officials have said they view Copts as equal citizens.
My relative laughed at this. He says when Brotherhood members have been asked about how they would treat Christians they are vague. When asked about whether they would nationalize the banks, they are vague. Even one of the Brookings scholars told me that the Brotherhood would probably segregate the sexes. This is far from a secular group.
Our family in Egypt always makes the point that if the current regime—which is considered moderate and quasi-secular—arrests people who convert from Islam to Christianity, what do you think it will be like if power is seized by a group that has as its explicit goal the spread of Islam?
One of the things I consistently hear from the Egyptian Christians I know is that Islamists know the right things to say in order to gain power. They are sophisticated. They are especially astute at telling Westerners what they want to hear.”
Egypt is to be considered “liberal” in the Arab world. Powers describes the daily oppressions in Saudi Arabia even as guides parrot words about how things are growing more liberal and open – in a society that cuts men’s hair on the street if it is too long and death is the reward for conversion from Islam. Yet many in the West, many liberals, many women “progressives” think we in the West have to embrace the oppressors.
Powers discusses Shadi Hamid, who we discussed above, of Brookings:
“Shadi Hamid, a Brookings Institute scholar and expert on the Muslim Brotherhood (which he maintains is not radical) made the case to me that Egypt is a very Islamic country, and if the people want an Islamic government that is their choice. It’s not for the U.S. to decide.
As a liberal, I have a very hard time with the idea that I’m not supposed to care about a potential government that is oppressive to minorities and women. I also do not support theocracies—Muslim, Christian or otherwise even if they aren’t fundamentalist. If find it strange that so many American liberals aren’t concerned about the Muslim Brotherhood’s stated mission to “spread Islam.” It’s hard to imagine them being so unconcerned about a Christian political group with the stated mission of establishing a Christian theocracy gaining power in a new government.
If the Muslim Brotherhood wants to evangelize Islam on its own time that is fine; but it shouldn’t be able to use government power to do so. I should also note that it is already against the law for Christians to share their faith in Egypt—and that’s under a quasi-secular government. (Human Rights Watch last year accused Egypt of “widespread discrimination” against Christians and other religious minorities.)
This isn’t to say that Mubarak deserves our support. He’s an oppressive dictator. But all the Americans who are supporting the participation of the Muslim Brotherhood in the new government need to understand who they really are. Beyond my own personal concern for the treatment of Christians and women, fundamentalist Islamic governments generally aren’t known for being pro-American.
I shared with my Egyptian relative that most experts I spoke to here believe that Turkey is the model that Egypt will follow.
It is disgusting that many American liberals don’t understand, or pretend not to, what is happening in Egypt and the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood and allies. Like the American left who shamed themselves with support for Stalin and oppressive communist regimes the present day is littered with these fake liberals and loathsome fake progressives. Many writers and critics in the left who denounce Christianity regularly and applaud atheism then turn their heads and pretend they just do not see as systems of oppression against women are implemented in Muslim/Arab countries.
Those “liberals” who think that Egypt should be abandoned or allowed to do whatever it wants are fools. The American revolution was a product of direct intervention by France. The destruction of the “Evil Empire” was accomplished by a strong Pope who used Vatican power to end the Soviet domination of the East. It is rare that counties have revolutions or changes in power without intervention of outside forces.
The idiot left wants American intervention in places like Sudan but want hands off in countries like Egypt which could determine oppressions for generations if not centuries to come. The threat of an “Iron Veil” from Northern Africa through the Middle East and beyond is an ugly possibility. To say “it’s their country” is an abdication of reality.
The idiot left also has those attention seekers whose entire knowledge comes from attending conferences hosted by other members of the idiot left who blame Israel for everything. It is a noxious Judenrein viewpoint that states Israel should not exist because the Jews in their homeland are the problem (“The “Zionist experiment” and Pres. Harry Truman’s risks finally proved a bridge too far in a hostile region where Israel stands alone.”)
“Zionist experiment” indeed. These PINO’s and their Hausfrau affiliates want to blame Israel for everything bad in the Middle East. These PINOs and their Hausfrau affiliates ignore reality and engage in traumpolitik delusions.
Egypt, as we have written from the outset is not just an inning, it is the ballgame. The ballgame is not going well.
Hosni Mubarak has not forgotten the lessons of Tienanmen and reporters are getting beaten up and the people shut up. As the fighting begins in Tahrir Square Mubarak told the truth about Obama: He does not understand. Or is it that Obama is too busy worrying about reelection, continuing the war on Hillary Clinton, and pretending he really truly cares about being a Christian?
It’s bound to get worse.
Next: The war on Hillary Clinton; Hosni Mubarak; and the battle for the future.