Egypt and the limits of US power

Few relationships better demonstrate the limits of American power or the frustration conundrums of Realpolitikbetter than our alliance with Egypt.
It is one of our most reliable partners in the fight against Islamic terrorists, but its autocratic police state bred one of the best-known pro-terror organizations, the Muslim Brotherhood. Its treaty with Israel has helped to keep the lid on explosive relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors, but its sclerotic and corrupt regime frustrates its youthful population. That keeps the pot simmering.
Protests which erupted in Tunisia have now spread to other Middle Eastern police states, including Egypt. From The New York Times:

After days of protests in the Arab world that have toppled one president and shaken many others, demonstrators calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak poured from mosques in Cairo after noon prayers on Friday, clashing with police who fired tear-gas and water-cannons, according to news reports and images broadcast on television.

Protests were also reported in the cities of Suez, Alexandria and several others, including Al Arish in northern Sinai.

According to The Associated Press, police doused one of the most prominent opposition figures, Mohammed ElBaradei, with a water-cannon and beat supporters who tried to shield him. Mr. ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, returned to Cairo on Thursday, promising to join the largely leaderless protests that have so far been propelled by young people.

Earlier, Internet and cellphone connections were closed or restricted in Cairo, Alexandria and other places. Riot police took to the streets of Cairo before the Friday noon prayers that in many parts of the Islamic world have been a prelude to unrest as worshippers pour onto the streets.

The protests have underscored the blistering pace of events that have transformed the visage of the Arab world, particularly among regimes that have traditionally enjoyed the support of successive administrations in Washington.

130 comments Add your comment

Scout

January 28th, 2011
8:51 am

So just like Iran, if this keeps up it will be replaced eventually by an Islamic State.

Won’t that be just wonderful !

Dave from GT

January 28th, 2011
8:54 am

So….. didn’t Obma just make a trip to the middle east to kiss all the Muslim leaders’ butts ? That worked real well didn’t it? Now we should send in a real man…… Hillary !

Peadawg

January 28th, 2011
8:57 am

“Now we should send in a real man…… Hillary !” – AAAAHHHHH run! It’s the Hildabeast!!!!!

“but its autocratic police state bred one of the best-known pro-terror organizations, the Muslim Brotherhood” – And it’s b/c of people like these that Muslims have a bad rep in the world.

Peadawg

January 28th, 2011
8:58 am

No title for the blog yet, Cynthia? Having trouble coming up w/ a good one-liner to blame the GOP or Bush for this?

Paddy O

January 28th, 2011
9:05 am

One of the results of Iraq’s democratically established government – the youth in other oppressive societies wish to vote & select their leaders. We shall see how this plays out.

Paddy O

January 28th, 2011
9:06 am

Peadawg – I would say this is a result of the invasion of Iraq – the reverse “domino affect”; instead of communism, you have a move toward democracy. I do believe this was Bush’ intent, no?

B Cosby

January 28th, 2011
9:07 am

We could endd the Middle-East nonsense by giving Isreal a homomg missle for each mosque in the region. CT, look to the National Enquirer for a title for today’s blog. They will probably let someone of you caliber cut & paste it!!

Paddy O

January 28th, 2011
9:10 am

Democracy is sloppy – if 55% of the voting citizens would prefer an Islamic estate, with the oppression of the female, that may be one of the unintended consequences. How is feminist freedom working in the USA? Abortion? Politicial correctness? The breakdown of the traditional family? The depression of the working wage? The ambivalent loss of manufacturing jobs (not heavily populated by the voting female segment)? The increase in job security & high cost of nursing/medical jobs & the teacher industry?

Paddy O

January 28th, 2011
9:11 am

Regarding the medical & teacher industry – which of those two highly paid jobs generate jobs for others?

B Cosby

January 28th, 2011
9:12 am

Man, I screwed the last entry up. End the nonsense with a homing missile. Spell Check may have helped out.

jconservative

January 28th, 2011
9:23 am

Paddy O at 9:06 am has a good point. Bush, and the presidents prior to him, wanted to push the spread of democracy around the world. So the Iranians kicked the Shah out. Are we happy with the replacement regime? We, the US, kicked Saddam out of Iraq, will we be happy with the replacement regime 5 or 10 years from now. Probably not.

So the Egyptians are moving to replace their dictator. We have no way of knowing what the replacement will look like. Odds are that in that region we will not like the replacement.

But we want to spread democracy.

There are occasions when minding your own business is a good idea.

Really last word

January 28th, 2011
9:34 am

Maybe CT gets a cut from all the media outlets that she cuts and pastes from for using their stuff.

Ivan

January 28th, 2011
9:39 am

Pretty obvious here she couldn’t find a title to cut/paste

Tall

January 28th, 2011
9:50 am

Really last word @ 9:34a.m. Good observation!! Best laugh I’ve had all week!!

B Cosby

January 28th, 2011
9:56 am

This blog title just in from the GLOBE: Political commentary from Pulitzer Prize winner, Cynthia Tucker of The AJC is a BONEHEAD!! There, CT. I cut & pasted it for you.

The skinny on Tall

January 28th, 2011
10:03 am

Stop posting to yourself, Tall, you p-hole. CYnthia Tucker is the only AJC blog host who is not delusional. Bookman is nothing more than a self-serving troll coddler. He’s the chat room chump baiter from hell. He’s ruined the atlanta blogosphere. Clyde Wingut is just a sniveling weenie boy. Ditto his mentor and idiot in chief, Wooten, whose soul contribution to the south was the perpetuation of the persecution of minorities like they done in Antebellum days of yore. Cynthia tucker is the only truthful modern voice out there. She’s mindful of justice, and btw, that girl can write. Unlike you, whose words read like skidmarks on 3day old BVDs. In fact, I’ve divined more sense out of complex and stringy skidmarkings than all of your moronic pronouncements.

(I meant a-hole).

bwa

Tall

January 28th, 2011
10:37 am

To “The skinny on Tall”:

You have too much time on your hands…I rarely ever post, so why all the bile? I’m not a fan of Mr. Bookman either, but you’re wrong about Mr. Wooten and Mr. Wingfield. Mr. Wingfiled will go on to much better than the AJC. He’s already been published in the Wall Street Journal and his columns are clear and better researched than those of Mr. Bookman or Ms. Tucker.

You’re entiltled to your opinions, but many of Ms. Tucker’s columns read like infomercials for the Obama administration. Her underlying premise that many of our country’s social problems can be solved by government programs paid for by somebody else, is beyond old.

With regard to ” Unlike you, whose words read like skidmarks on 3day old BVDs”……I’d like to see some of those words as I rarely ever post.

You wouldn’t happen to know Art at large would you?

Harry Callahan

January 28th, 2011
10:55 am

“Cynthia tucker is the only truthful modern voice out there. She’s mindful of justice, and btw, that girl can write.”

Congratulations!! That is both the funniest and dumbest post of 2011 so far!!!

Paddy O

January 28th, 2011
11:06 am

REgading Wooten – I enjoy reading him, but he is not a pure conservative; or he has percolated conservative values so long they come out in conflict with each other. He NEVER wants a levied fee dedicated to a purpose – such as the tire excise tax. IMHO, that is ass backwards. The more services which have dedicated funding (paid for by those who use the service), the lower the general tax should be. The other Wooten oddity is his love affair with vouchers & charter schools. This is just more cost to be funded (more admin, trans) through public taxes. My solution is: Be very, very careful where you move to. Do your due diligence and move someplace that has good schools for your kids. Other than those two items, I generally agree with his commentary.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

January 28th, 2011
11:11 am

I fear friends Scout and jconservative ask the unanswerable single-word question, “Iran?” WSj aptly notes that the administration was taken by surprise on the events in Lebanon and Tunisia and Egypt and Yemen – sounds like a “good job, Brownie” moment for the State Department. More to the point, however, it seems that the 30 year experience after Iran has not informed our bureaucrats on a potential response. How does Obama avoid his Katrina moment, the approaching hurricane that is Radical Islamism?

Ragnar Danneskjöld

January 28th, 2011
11:13 am

And does anyone have the courage to link Petraeus’s budget comments yesterday to the coming Islamist hurricane? Instead of putting our limited resources where they need to be, we are building infrastructure? Winning the Future – “WTF” – indeed.

Tall

January 28th, 2011
11:25 am

To Paddy O:

True. My wife and I purchased a home in Sandy Springs ten years ago without giving a great deal of thought to the school systems. A big mistake. The public school systems in this country that were meant to be the great equalizers, have become the great dividers. I personally went through 12 years of public school on Long Island in the 1970’s with good things to say about it. My son does have good teachers and is getting an adequate education – in my opinion. However, there is a progressive agenda that is unnecessary and takes precedence over the actual education. There is also a great deal of fluff – “technology” – for example. A great deal of time during the school day is also wasted.

I’m not enamored of vouchers either. They don’t really solve the long term problems and they let the poor performers off the hook.

Georgian

January 28th, 2011
11:47 am

The only limits to American power are those which we put on Her.

Libby

January 28th, 2011
11:55 am

I am sick to death of helping these third world cesspools – let them rot!

Kamchak

January 28th, 2011
11:57 am

Where in the Constitution does it specifically mention nation building?

Georgian

January 28th, 2011
11:59 am

Kam,

Who is nation building?

Tommy Maddox

January 28th, 2011
12:03 pm

This is really bad – not the NYT cut-n-paste, but the event. So goes Egypt, so goes the Suez Canal.

Kamchak

January 28th, 2011
12:13 pm

Kam,

Who is nation building?

We have been, especially in the ME.

Israel, the Shah, Saddam.

Also the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan during the 80s (boy didn’t that one come back and bite us in the ass), South America, trying to stop all those dominoes from falling in Korea and Vietnam…

Are you really that much of a naif?

Thulsa Doom

January 28th, 2011
12:31 pm

Part of the reason for the riots is that the radicals are emboldened by our weak president. They know the community organizer aint no Reagan.

This is a US president who went to the middle east and bowed down to a 2 bit Arab oil sheik. Don’t lie Dems. It was right there on video for the whole world to witness. Is it any wonder that the radicals don’t fear any repercussions from this WEAK, WEAK, WEAK president who bowed to a sheik?

If Mubarak gets overthrown and radicals take over control of the all important Suez Canal then we are in serious trouble with a “blame America” first president.

This is what happens when you elect a community organizer who makes pretty speeches as a president. This and of course record shattering deficits/debt and record shattering unemployment- especially here in GA. The record is clear- this guy is flat out incompetent- PLAIN AND SIMPLE.

Thulsa Doom

January 28th, 2011
12:35 pm

Kam,

Me loves me some revisionist history that you put out. We rebuilt Afghanistan in the 80s? Really? I thought all we did was give them stingers and some other arms to beat the Soviets.

South America? Really? Never saw a Marshall plan for South America. Saw the standard aid that we give to foreign countries all over the world but I never saw hundreds of thousands of Americans in any South American country doing “nation building”.

Go learn some history sport.

willie lynch

January 28th, 2011
12:36 pm

The Shah of Iran did not preside over a democratic government nor was he elected through that process. The democratically elected president of Iran was undermined and removed from office by the U.S. and replaced with the prince/puppet.

The fallout of the removal of the Shah for the U.S. resulted in the guilt by association process. If you were for the Shah and the Shah was not for the people of Iran then you must not be for the people of Iran therefore you are the enemy to be known going forward as the Great Satan.

The situation in Egypt is not much different. There has been a call for Mubarak to step aside everytime there has been an election yet he somehow wins with 80% of the vote and U.S. support. Democracy? That’s what Egyptians were told they had. It will be interesting to see what comes of this change if indeed there is a change.

Thulsa Doom

January 28th, 2011
12:37 pm

“Nation building in Korea and Vietnam” – by golly Kam was actually partially right about something. Somebody sound the alarm. Kam is using that 2nd brain cell of his. He’s stretching it to the limit but he is using that 2nd brain cell.

Kamchak

January 28th, 2011
12:40 pm

If Mubarak gets overthrown and radicals take over control of the all important Suez Canal then we are in serious trouble with a “blame America” first president.

Where, specifically in the Constitution does it mention the Suez Canal?

Thanks in advance.

Georgian

January 28th, 2011
12:45 pm

Kam,

You see what you want to see.

ByteMe

January 28th, 2011
12:46 pm

Part of the reason for the riots is that the radicals are emboldened by our weak president.

What a narcissistic view of the world. It’s all about us, huh? Maybe it’s just about rampant unemployment and unemployed males riot more often than employed ones. But that doesn’t fit your view of the world, so it must not be the reason.

Tommy Maddox

January 28th, 2011
12:49 pm

Have they started yet with the chant of “Down with the Carter; down with the Shah”?

Thulsa Doom

January 28th, 2011
12:50 pm

“Where, specifically in the Constitution does it mention the Suez Canal?”

It is mentioned nowhere in the Constitution. Neither are the military bases we have in Europe, KorEa, throughout the world. And apparently going after the Barbary pirates when they were attacking US shipping wasn’t in there either. But we did it anyway to protect our nation’s shipping. Ooops. Wait a minute- turns out defending the nation, its people, and its people’s property and commerce such as shipping is the first and foremost duty of any govt- protecting its people and their property. See Kam- ya learned something today. Your welcome and I’m glad to help!

Kamchak

January 28th, 2011
12:53 pm

You see what you want to see.

What I see is that Republicans/tea-baggers/Libertarians have had their come-to-Jesus moment about limiting our involvement domestically to what is specifically in the Constitution while completely ignoring that myopic focus when it comes to foreign policy, especially when it comes to going after countries that don’t align with them either by economic or religious ideology.

Thulsa Doom

January 28th, 2011
12:53 pm

Byteme,

A narcissistic view of the world? Not quite. They pretty much do blame the US for every single problem they have. Hell if someone over there get’s indigestion its because of the “great Satan”. How much ya wanna bet there are some American flags being burned over there even though we have nothing to do with the situation? How much?

Keep up the good fight!

January 28th, 2011
12:53 pm

Some here will not be satisfied until there is a cold war with Islam with their hopes of a hot war. They have undated the domino theory.

TBone

January 28th, 2011
12:57 pm

Egypt has been a festering boil on the buttock of the world since the collapse of Pharoh and freeing of the Isrealis. They have been insignificant for some time and bought and paid for by the US for many years but calling them an ally is a stretch.Now that the US is broke what do they have to look forward to? This is the end of times and this sort of thing is supposed to happen and will get worse.

Kamchak

January 28th, 2011
12:58 pm

They have undated the domino theory.

A war in thirty minutes or less?

Thulsa Doom

January 28th, 2011
12:58 pm

Kam at 12:53,

Good grief. A well articulated, reasonable point made by Kam. I can’t believe I read that.

Jack

January 28th, 2011
1:00 pm

If what I read in the AJC is true, new mosques are being built everyday in this country. If we are to have an outpouring of youths from religious centers, I certainly hope they’ll be centers not intent on killing all Christians. Or am I being too sclerotic?

Call it like it is

January 28th, 2011
1:01 pm

What it cant be true, say it isnt so! Trouble and conflict in the middle east? You know what would make a good story. Peace in the middle east. Guess what it aint going to happen. They were in chaos before we got there, their in chaos now, and will be from here on out. Its a different culture and its not going to change anytime soon.

Keep up the good fight!

January 28th, 2011
1:01 pm

Kam…good one! I bet they’ll tell us how we will be welcomed as liberators in those 30 minutes.

Thulsa Doom

January 28th, 2011
1:09 pm

Keep up the good fight!

January 28th, 2011
1:01 pm
“Kam…good one! I bet they’ll tell us how we will be welcomed as liberators in those 30 minutes.”

That was actually funny. Oddly enough I find myself in agreement with you. Leave them alone- let them go back to murderous dictators, the systematic beatdown of women, their sharia law theocracy, and their bombing campaigns. Personally I give not a hoot about them.

HDB

January 28th, 2011
1:10 pm

Thulsa Doom
January 28th, 2011
12:31 pm

“Part of the reason for the riots is that the radicals are emboldened by our previously weak president. They know the oilman wasn’t smart!

This is a US president who went to the middle east, bowed down to a 2 bit Arab oil sheik, kissed him…and helped him up the stairs, who has also been adopted by the Royal Saudi Family.”

There….fixed your statement!!

Thulsa Doom

January 28th, 2011
1:17 pm

HDB,

So what you’re telling me is that Bush 2 was regarded as weak although he was the one man who took a stand against Saddam and against Bin Laden in Afghanistan and we all know what happened then. Whether you agree with the 2 wars or not is a valid difference of opinion but I seriously doubt anyone in the middle east would call Bush 2 weak considering his response. What an asinine statement.

Are you saying that Bush 2 bowed to an Arab oil sheik or are you acknowledging that the community organizer did? Aint seen the video of Bush bowing down in subserviance. I have seen the one of Obama though- he looked a whupped female dog doing it. A shameful moment for the greatest naion on Earth.

Kamchak

January 28th, 2011
1:21 pm