Saturday, February 05, 2011

Obama's Foot/Mouth Problem

It would be hard to find a more profound exercise in complete ineptitude than in the conduct of President Obama and State Secretary Clinton during the “Egyptian Affair.” Clinton had just acclaimed Egypt as stable and Veep Biden had just asserted that Mubarak was not considered a dictator. Then, when the protests started (perhaps somewhat because of those statements), complete with looting and the destruction of property, Obama came out swinging and made it plain that Mubarak had to get out immediately. He didn’t do this in private; rather, he did it purposefully facing the TV cameras for the whole world to see his public debasement of Mubarak, a royal back-stabbing to a friend and friendly nation.

That didn’t happen, of course, even though Obama sent an envoy to tell Mubarak the same thing in private. Ironically, as reported by the BBC on 05 February, the special envoy, Frank Wisner, a former ambassador in Egypt, has publicly declared that Mubarak should stay in place. This leaves Obama twisting in the wind unless he had some ulterior motive in the whole mess. Actually, he just doesn’t understand what a transition entails. It’s not like the one between a U.S. presidential election and inauguration.

In an interview with ABC’s Christiane Amanpour on 03 February, Egyptian Vice President Suleiman said this: "No, Egypt will not be anything like Tunisia. This is different. You know that our president is a fighter. He lived on this soil and he will die on this soil." Suleiman has also blamed the foreign press, presumably acting in concert with dissidents, for the disorder and is obviously not amused by Obama’s tactics or that of the U.S. press. Like Mubarak, he is personified by the military and the two men have long been together in the trenches, especially fighting off the murderous Muslim Brotherhood’s influence in Egypt.

Obama virtually boasted of his two conversations with Mubarak, one right after Mubarak had explained publicly that he was stepping down in September but would remain as president until then to keep order. Obviously and strangely on the side of the protesters, Obama never got it. Finally, in a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Harper, he said emphatically that Egyptians, not Americans or anyone else, must decide their fate – all this after he had publicly inserted not the Egyptians but himself into the equation, along with Clinton, who was merely pathetic. He then talked of Mubarak protecting his legacy and made it plain that he meant for Mubarak to get out of the way. Amazing!

Strangely a couple years ago when Ahmadinejad and the ayatollah cold-bloodedly murdered protesters, who needed help from any direction in an entirely similar incident in Iran, Obama had little or nothing to say, even though Iran is a sworn enemy of this country. Egypt, by contrast, has been the only Arabic/Muslim friend to this country for decades but Obama tried his best not to referee the upheaval, electing instead to call the game, so naïve or obviously disingenuous or both that he lost all credibility everywhere.

More recently, Clinton put out the word about an assassination-attempt on Suleiman, with a couple of guards killed, but apparently had made little or no effort to see if it actually happened, thus adding to the turmoil. It appears now that it didn’t happen, but who knows? Why didn’t she check?

In January, 36,000 jobs were added in this country while 90,000 people entered the work force. Result: The administration lowered the unemployment rate to 9% – cooking the books, obviously – and expected the public to believe that. It merely dropped the folks who had given up looking for work, pushing the actual unemployment rate beyond 20% certainly and most likely much higher. Imagine those hundreds of thousands of people out of work jamming the mall outside the White House in protest. After all, Obama has been leading the country steadily into bankruptcy, meaning that they don’t have a prayer. They would have a cause, certainly, the same as the folks in Egypt, who are suffering from low wages and high food prices, as well as unemployment, a global problem.

As the protesters demonstrated and got out of hand with looting and violence, Obama, knowing the D.C. police couldn’t or wouldn’t handle the problem, thus protecting him, his family and the government, would naturally call out the army, though that would be unconstitutional. This is precisely what happened in Egypt but would Obama not think that what’s good for Egypt would be good when his own backside needs protecting, not to mention the nation itself and law and order.

That may be extreme, but it serves to remark the inability of the administration to do other than go lurching off in all directions without any understanding of the need for just shutting-up for a while and letting the Egyptians get a handle on the problem. Obama appears as a poodle snapping at the legs of a huge but tolerant Pit Bull, a whippersnapper attempting to order around an 83-year-old 30-year president, who has to handle in a day more serious problems than Obama faces in a week…and most likely without a teleprompter.

The latest: Obama is now castigating the intelligence agencies for not informing him in advance of everything that was about to happen so he just maybe wouldn’t shoot-off his mouth before he thinks, as if anyone can figure what will happen from one day to the next in Arab country. But it shifts the blame, and isn’t that the name of the game in Washington these days?

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

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