GOP In A Hurry To Make Enemies.

A number of conservatives are calling for President Obama to call the removal of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi a military coup. Doing so would automatically trigger an end to foreign aid to Egypt and its military.

The fact that the Obama administration is approaching the situation in Egypt cautiously has left conservatives frustrated. They call the president weak. They say he is sending a message of weakness to all the world; that America is now afraid to take a stand; that our enemies will see this weakness as an opportunity to assert themselves and harm American interests.

Bull feces!

President Obama has been anything but weak when it comes to foreign policy. Not only did he order the killing of bin Laden, he put together a group of allies to end the reign of Muammar Khaddafi in Libya. He also has been relentless in his desire to end terrorism. By contrast, let’s look at the results of American threats and bullying by conservative presidents.

When Reagan deployed a large number of troops to Beirut in the eighties, terrorists detonated two truck bombs killing 299 US and French soldiers, leading to the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers from the country. In other words, the tough talkin’ TV cowboy turned tail and ran.

President George H.W. Bush sent mixed signals to Iraq leading to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the ensuing Desert Storm. That, in turn, resulted in our maintaining US bases in Saudi Arabia which infuriated extremist Muslims, leading to the creation of al Qaeda.

President George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan following 9/11 and trumped up a phony reason to invade Iraq. More than 10 years later, the war in Afghanistan still rages and Iraq has been turned into an ally of Iran.

All of that cowboy machismo turned out so well that conservatives now want President Obama to follow the same approach in Egypt? To what end? If we immediately cut off aid to Egypt’s military, not only might we lose an ally that has made peace with Israel. We might turn the Egyptian army against us. Acting rashly might further destabilize the Middle East and weaken US influence throughout the region.

So, please, President Obama, take your time. Think over the consequences before you act. Then make the decision that best serves Egyptians as well as Americans. That would be a refreshing change from the foreign policy of conservatives.

Egypt’s Morsi = America’s GOP

When asked to explain the removal of President Mohamed Morsi, Egyptian leaders said that Morsi had offered no plan; no vision to solve the nation’s problems. Instead, he focused on consolidating the power of the Muslim Brotherhood and instituting Sharia law.

In many ways, his actions paralleled those of the GOP in the US.

Like Egypt, we have millions of unemployed. We have tens of thousands of recent college graduates with no jobs; not even any prospects of jobs. We have millions who, despite working full-time jobs, live in poverty. Our infrastructure is crumbling around us.

So how are Congressional Republicans dealing with these problems?

Like the Muslim Brotherhood, they are focused on consolidating power. In Republican-controlled states, they are gerrymandering Congressional districts to ensure their re-election. They are pushing through laws to limit the voting rights of minorities. And they are instituting their own form of repressive, antiquated laws to control women’s bodies; to control who may marry; to pick economic winners and losers.

The GOP has offered no legislation to address our growing number of problems. No jobs bills. No plan to rebuild infrastructure. No plan to help workers earn a living wage. No plan to break up our growing number of monopolies. No plan to deal with climate change. No plan to control healthcare costs. No plan to take the corruption out of politics.

The GOP’s only vision is to obstruct the plans of President Obama. If anything, that makes them worse than Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

What Egypt Reveals About US Foreign Policy.

In one of the most ironic foreign policy twists of all time, Egyptian journalists are reporting that a majority of Egyptians now link the US with the Muslim Brotherhood and deposed President Mohamed Morsi.

No, it’s not because President Obama is the socialist Muslim Teapublicans think him to be. The reality is much less interesting. It stems from our undying belief in democracy, and the fact that Americans equate democracy with freedom. But, as we’re learning, democracy does not always lead to freedom, and it doesn’t always represent the will of the people.

Egypt is a great case in point.

When Morsi was elected president, it had less to do with his vision for the future of Egypt than the fact that his Freedom and Justice Party representing the Muslim Brotherhood was more organized and more powerful than the opposition parties. After all, political parties had not previously played a large role in Egyptian government because Egypt had never before held democratic elections. Nevertheless, the US felt it necessary to embrace Morsi after he won election.

Once Morsi gained power, he ignored the economic issues of poverty and joblessness that led to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. Instead, Morsi focused on consolidating power in order to ensure that Freedom and Justice Party candidates could not be defeated in future elections. He also took steps to replace the current legal system with Islamic law.

To that end, Morsi reinstated the Islamist-dominated parliament that was disbanded by the Supreme Constitutional Court. He then ordered the return of legislators elected a year earlier, a majority of whom are members of his own party or other Islamist groups. Morsi objected to a constitutional provision that would limit his presidential power and announced that any constitutional amendments restricting the president’s powers would be annulled. And late last year, he issued a declaration purporting to protect the work of the assembly convened to draft a new constitution from judicial interference. But, in effect, that declaration immunized his actions from any legal challenge.

By this time, most Egyptians had had enough. But the Obama administration, like so many of the administrations before it, felt it had little choice but to continue to support a democratically-elected president. So we continued to provide billions of military aid to Egypt.

Now the US is left in a very awkward position.

US law dictates that we cut off military aid to any nation that removes a democratically-elected leader through a military coup. Yet one can easily argue that the Egyptian military was directed by the will of the people. And if we do cut off military aid, we risk alienating the military leaders, the most powerful political force in Egypt. Furthermore, it would lend more credence to the notion that we support the Muslim Brotherhood over the will of the people.

We likely wouldn’t be in this dilemma if our foreign policy put more emphasis on humanitarian aid versus military aid. For decades, we have continued Cold War policies of providing weapons to nations (including those run by brutal dictators) that support our corporate…er…national interests. At the same time, we have tended to ignore the health and welfare of ordinary people.

The resulting void is too often filled by terrorists and militant organizations.

Such organizations have endeared themselves to ordinary citizens by building schools, mosques, water treatment plants, medical facilities and other things that directly benefit a majority of the people. That helps them more easily recruit members and enables them to draw a stark contrast with the US. And when these nations inevitably erupt in political turmoil, our own weapons are often turned against us.

Why do we continue such bone-headed foreign policies? In a word, money. Selling weapons to governments that support our multinational corporations is very profitable for our military-industrial complex. Building infrastructure and creating jobs…not so much. Moreover, economic disparity and poverty provide a ready source of cheap labor for multinational corporations in search of places to send our manufacturing jobs.