More Fierce Advocacy

January 28th, 2011at 08:02am Posted by Eli

Robert Naiman questions the Obama administration’s sincerity on Egypt:

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Clinton urged the Egyptian government not to crack down on peaceful protests and not to disrupt social networking sites.

As of 5 a.m. this morning Cairo time, we had some preliminary data on the Egyptian government’s response to Secretary Clinton’s urgings.

Egypt: Internet down, police counterterror unit up,” the AP reported.

(…)

Will the US government now say, “Well, what do you want from us? We asked them not to do that.”

Is anyone going to be convinced by that? Will anyone say, “well, the U.S. did all it could?”

As the world knows, the U.S. government has two ways of asking governments that receive U.S. military and economic assistance to do things, or not to do them.

Sometimes the U.S. asks these governments to do things.

And sometimes the U.S. asks these governments to do things, and specifies possible consequences if the ask is not met.

And when Secretary of State Clinton asked the Egyptian government not to crack down on protests and not to disrupt social networking sites, it appeared to be the first case. No possible consequence was suggested if the U.S.-backed, U.S.-armed, and U.S.-supplied Egyptian government cracked down on the protesters and blocked social networking sites.

Perhaps, you might think, the U.S. was showing respect for Egyptian sovereignty.

But that doesn’t pass the laugh test. Because we have seen, over and over, that when the U.S. really wants something, it suggests that there will be consequences if the ask is not met. And then, if the ask is not met, the willingness of the U.S. to carry out threats is demonstrated.

(…)

This is what the U.S. does when it really wants something. It suggests consequences.

Egypt is the second-biggest recipient of U.S. foreign aid. But judging from press reports, no U.S. official has even so much as whispered that a single penny of that aid might be conditioned on whether the Egyptian government allows peaceful protests. Nor has any U.S. official so much as whispered that a cancellation of a visa might be in the offing.

In other words, Obama opposes a crackdown in Egypt in much the same way that he opposes cuts to Social Security, or in much the same way that he supported the public option.  Very inspiring.

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Democrats,Foreign Policy,Obama,Politics,Wankers


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