Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hillary Clinton and Juan Cole lying about Egypt

Juan Cole blocks comments that present him as hostile to Egyptian democracy really because there is no argument.  For him it is best to pretend such comments never existed.  It is what I'd do if I supported a colonial relationship between the US and Egypt, but would have to reconcile that with US values that purport to oppose such relationships.  Below is an adaptation of a post that has been blocked.
The establishment press in Egypt, al-Ahram (“The Pyramids”), reported cautiously on the meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi (from the Muslim Brotherhood party).

1. It noted that Clinton affirmed the US desire that the Egyptian military go to its barracks and leave elected civilians in charge.
About point 1- The United States provides Egypt's military with $1.5 billion per year. Beyond that, Egypt's parliament, when it existed was to be denied access to Egypt's military budget, including the US contribution to it.

1a - If Hillary Clinton was not lying about some desire to see the military relinquish political power, did she say that the $1.5 billion that she certified was in the US' interest to provide so that the US could retain leverage over Egyptian policy is at risk? Not publicly.

1b - If the military wants its budget to be secret from the people of Egypt, the US still could directly tell Egyptians and their elected officials of its contribution unilaterally. The US, according to Cole, is claiming to want civilians to be in charge, but won't even tell civilians who is getting the billion dollars a year it is spending for policy leverage.

The discrepancy between how the US acts regarding its payments to Egypt's dictatorship and the asserted US desire to allow elected Egyptians to control Egyptian policy indicates that the claimed desire is just a falsehood. A lie.
6. She said that the current constitutional crisis over the Supreme Administrative Court’s and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces’s dismissals of the elected parliament, and Morsi’s attempt to reinstate it, was a matter of internal Egyptian politics in which the US would not interfere.
About point 6 - The US will not interfere?  The US gives one side of this dispute, the side that has never won an election, $1.5 billion per year.  The people of Egypt and their elected officials have no idea where the money is going. That's interference. Why even tell such a transparent lie?
The US just wants a few things from Egypt: Keeping trade flowing through the Red Sea and Suez Canal; the security of Israel; the security of Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf States… (Did I say, ‘the security of Israel?)
Of the items in the list of things the US wants from Egypt, one stands out as particularly difficult to achieve if the government is accountable to the people of Egypt rather than to the Obama administration. US opposition to Egyptian democracy is mostly due to that one item, security for Israel, and less importantly due to an irrational Islamophobia that pervades the US foreign policy community.

I also want to point out that as of today, Clinton has no reason to meet with Morsi about Israel as Egypt's president has no foreign policy making authority.  Instead Egyptians who are on her payroll, like Tantawi and like Mubarak before Tantawi, set that policy as modern colonial subjects of the United States.


That comment criticizes the fact that Juan Cole is misleading his readers by affirming the blatant lie that the US is somehow on the sidelines in the dispute between the pro-US dictatorship and the voters of Egypt who in every election, three so far totalling eight rounds, have supported Islamists or ideologically allied coalitions. Of course it will not be posted, but that is very low on the list of Cole's moral deficiencies.

The United States is an evil nation.  Juan Cole, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are evil people, the modern equivalents of Cecil Rhodes and Winston Churchill.  85 million Egyptian people should not have accountable government because they might jeopardize the desire of fewer than six million Jewish people in Israel to avoid losing their enforced political majority state the way White South Africans did. It is anti-Arab bigotry.  It is anti-Muslim bigotry. It is what the United States stands for, on behalf of Israel.

But since I'm here, I'd like to go over the US' relationship with Egypt since Barack Obama took office.

As historical background, we'll start with Egypt's previous colonial ruler, the British empire, and its plans to grant Egypt "independence" except over areas of policy where it chose to retain control:
When at last the combined forces of the occupying army and the Interior Ministry were able to quell months of strikes and protests, the British were compelled to reconsider their position towards Egypt. The eventual outcome of that process was the unilateral decision in March 1922 to grant Egypt a qualified independence. Although the country would be governed thereafter as a constitutional monarchy, the British retained the right to intervene in any matters seen to affect the security of imperial communications, the interests and safety of foreigners on Egyptian soil, the threat of foreign invasion, or the status of Egypt's relationship with the Sudan.
Coming to the Obama presidency, we'll recall when Obama was asked directly during his first year in office if he considered Hosni Mubarak a dictator and said he would not call him that because he approved of Mubarak's role in the region, particularly regarding Israel.
Justin Webb: Do you regard President Mubarak as an authoritarian ruler?

President Obama: No, I tend not to use labels for folks. I haven't met him. I've spoken to him on the phone.

He has been a stalwart ally in many respects, to the United States. He has sustained peace with Israel, which is a very difficult thing to do in that region.
Joe Biden said the same thing as protesters filled Tahrir Square.
JIM LEHRER: The word -- the word to describe the leadership of Mubarak and Egypt and also in Tunisia before was dictator. Should Mubarak be seen as a dictator?

JOE BIDEN: Look, Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things and he's been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interests in the region: Middle East peace efforts, the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing the relationship with Israel.

And I think that it would be -- I would not refer to him as a dictator.
Then we'll look at a commitment the pro-US dictatorship made to the US press, that it would not allow Egypt's voters to set foreign policy. The New York Times reported the commitment with an approving and reassured tone.
The new majority is likely to increase the difficulty of sustaining the United States’ close military and political partnership with post-Mubarak Egypt, though the military has said it plans to maintain a monopoly over many aspects of foreign affairs.
Next we'll look at Jimmy Carter who met Egypt's dictatorship and afterwards told reporters that the military relinquishing control over all areas of policy would be "excessive".
“ ‘Full civilian control’ is a little excessive, I think,” Mr. Carter said, after describing a meeting he had Tuesday with Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, leader of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, or SCAF. “I don’t think the SCAF is going to turn over full responsibility to the civilian government. There are going to be some privileges of the military that would probably be protected.”
Lastly we'll look at Hillary Clinton's certification that US contributions to Egypt's military should continue specifically because those contributions advance US policy interests.
Pursuant to section 7041(a)(1)(C) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2012 (Div. I, Pub. L. 112–74) (‘‘the Act’’), I hereby determine that it is in the national security interest of the United States to waive the requirements of section 7041(a)(1)(B) of the Act with respect to the provision of Foreign Military Financing for Egypt, and I hereby waive this restriction.
So that now, when we see the unelected dictatorship decree that elected officials do not have control over foreign policy we are seeing this pro-US dictatorship keeping a promise it already made to Americans, it is trying to fulfil the role Great Britain hoped to achieve with its nominally independent colony of Egypt a century before, and it is pursuing the policies that Barack Obama applauded Egypt's previous dictatorship for pursuing.

This is the light in which we should see the defense of US commentators such as Juan Cole of the dictatorship's dissolving of the elected parliament. The fact of the matter is that the US, like Juan Cole, ultimately does not want to see Egyptian policy made by the Egyptian people.  They are clumsily if blatantly lying to themselves and to anyone who will listen to them about their position.

If there are bright sides, they are that Egypt, despite the US, may well be making progress toward independence and also that it is becoming easier to see through American lies about the Middle East. But Cole, Clinton and Obama, according to the US' own professed values, should be ashamed and disgusted with themselves.