Belmont Club

Hammy Voo

These three pictures involve United States Embassies in allied countries.

Cairo 2012

Teheran 1979

Saigon, 1975

… is the phenomenon of experiencing a situation that one recognizes in some fashion, but that nonetheless seems very unfamiliar. …

involves a sense of eeriness and the observer’s impression of seeing the situation for the first time, despite rationally knowing that he or she has been in the situation before …

as when a person momentarily does not recognise a word, person, or place that he or she already knows.

The Nile is a River in Egypt

Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition. I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country. That is the spirit we need today. People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind, heart, and soul. This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive, but it is being challenged in many different ways …

I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings. — Obama’s Speech in Cairo, 2009

Either something’s not working or someone isn’t trying hard enough. Which is it?

The principle similarities are of course to the Fall of the Shah. In that instance Jimmy Carter believed that the successor regime, though radical in rhetoric, were ultimately people he could deal with. The same miscalculation is being played out in Egypt, and more broadly in the areas affected by the Arab Spring.

After having cut back the pro-democracy funding to Egypt upon his accession to the Presidency, Obama was shaken by the Arab Spring. He revived the funding but perhaps judging it was too late, decided to “lead from behind” and let the Muslim Brotherhood pip him at the finish line.

But instead of being greeted as the leader of the honorable second place, the Brotherhood decided to destroy their rivals. American NGOs were unceremoniously thrown out of Egypt, including the son of Secretary LaHood.

But despite this development the State Department appeared to persist in their belief that they could deal with the Brotherhood. When it became apparent that Morsi was squaring off with the Egyptian Army Hillary flew to Cairo and let Morsi appoint a new officer corps. There was nothing to worry about the public was told, because the new officers though affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, were ‘pro-American’.

That assumption must now be questioned in the light of the storming of the Embassy. There is now a strong case to be made for the assertion that the Muslim Brotherhood is now seen as the Strong Horse while the United States is increasingly perceived as the Wrong Horse.

It is worse than it seems because not only does this portend a policy failure in Egypt but in the whole region. Muslim Brotherhood-like organizations are ascendant wherever the Arab Spring has bloomed. So a failure in Egypt — already a catastrophe because of its border with Israel and the Suez Canal — foreshadows a foreign policy collapse in the Mediterranean. In the words of Karen Carpenter, “it’s only just begun”.

Even as a I wrote those words, there is news just in that Libyan protesters have stormed and torched the US consulate in Benghazi. “A Libyan Interior Ministry official says armed men have stormed the US consulate in east Libya’s Benghazi and set it ablaze after a protest against a video deemed insulting to Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, which was reportedly produced in America.”  There was no prescience involved in my anticipatory writing. Simply a common sense thought that should have occurred to policy makers but which somehow never does.

But as press reports have already informed us, the policy of the White House is to make no waves until election day, a situation which has doubtless emboldened the Muslim Brotherhood who now know they can do almost anything without rousing the torpid occupant of the White House. Watch for them to slap Uncle Sam again and again and again … while the State Department issues ever more craven apologies

It is not yet too late to consider opposing the Muslim Brotherhood more forcefully. Perhaps not to the point of an open break but conveying, perhaps by granting visas to the Copts, or by openly mending fences with Israel, that there are limits beyond which even the Obama administration will not go. That there’s a point beyond which it cannot be pushed around.

Will they get tougher? Nah. That would spoil the illusion. And illusion, like the Boss in the Nile,  is everything.

Dreams, so they say, are for the fools and they let ’em drift away.
Peace, like the silent dove, should be flyin’ but it’s only dead and done.
Like Columbus in the olden days, we must never leave the anchorage.
Sail our ships out on the mental sea. Listen to our fears
And all the years will come and go, and take us up, always up.
We may never pass this way again. We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.


Belmont Commenters
How to Publish on Amazon’s Kindle for $2.99
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99

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