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Sunday, Mar 29, 2015

Obama's abject failure in the Egyptian affair


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The United States hands out nearly $2 billion a year to Egypt. Yet there appears to be little or nothing to show for it.

If anything, Egypt is today less stable, less prosperous, and more likely to become a tinder box in a looming religious war than it was five years ago. Much of the blame belongs to the misguided, politics-first, Obama administration.

The mess in Egypt today is a glaring example of the Obama administration's complete failure to take effective actions at appropriate times.

Obama had nearly three years in which to work to convince Hosni Mubarak to educate his population, so that they would be at least minimally qualified to vote in a free election. But Obama wasted the opportunity.

When his underlings visited Africa, it was usually to campaign for women's rights, clean water or elimination of AIDS; no time was spent attempting to put out the glowing embers of unrest in Mubarak's Egypt.

When Arab Spring hit Cairo in 2011, our Harvard Lawyer-in-Chief was seemingly surprised. In typical fashion, he hemmed and hawed, and then bravely stated that the United States hoped for quick and free elections.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood mobilized the pliable population and surprised the civilized world by getting its candidate elected as Egypt's first democratically chosen leader.

Had we enjoyed competent leadership at the time, we could have prevented that Islamic victory, but our State Department not only failed to prevent radical Islamic takeover of Egypt, but applauded it.

Now, our leader reacts by bemoaning the "coup," and urging the military to arrange for a quick and free election to replace Morsi.

Egypt was not at all ready to hold a free election by 2011. Our State Department could well have set the stage for a strong, new democracy in the Arab world. We should have worked with Egypt to educate the population about such as radical Islam and Democracy.

I believe that, had the electorate known of fundamentalist Islam's potential for suppression they would never have voted for Morsi.

We should be thankful that Morsi hadn't yet been able to emasculate the conservative Egyptian Army so that there is now a chance that Egypt can be saved, and the lurking Islamic Jihad stalled, if not eliminated.

President Obama should congratulate the Egyptian generals on saving Egypt, and ask that they now work with us to educate the population in preparation for a meaningful election.

An informed electorate is Egypt's only chance to break out of its present economic whirlpool and become a strong, major nation. Obama should have recognized that all along, and acted accordingly.

Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated column by J.G. Nash. Relevant comments may be sent to him at

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