The Other McCain

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Obama ‘Siding With Chaos’?

Posted on | February 3, 2011 | 9 Comments

So says a leading Egyptian businessman:

Shafik Gabr was one of President Obama’s greatest fans eighteen months ago. Today, as Mr. Obama presses for the immediate resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, not so much. “The United States is siding with chaos if they force Mubarak out now,” says Gabr.
Gabr is the Chairman of the Artoc Group for Investment and Development, one of Egypt’s leading businesses. . . .
He is, needless to say, sickened by recent developments. He is also alarmed at the response by the Obama administration. “If the transfer of power happens today, the mobs will rule,” he warns. “It will be similar to the circumstances that brought Hamas to power in Gaza.”

The chaos is described by a BBC reporter in Alexandria:

It’s getting increasingly difficult to work as a foreign journalist here – there’s anger and tension from all sides, not just with the political crisis but also because of the worsening economic situation here. Twice in the last couple of days we have been attacked and driven off by angry locals while trying to film in the streets.
In many areas law and order has completely broken down. One of the country’s biggest shopping malls on the city’s outskirts has been completely ransacked by looters.

President Obama told the National Prayer Breakfast that he’s praying for an end to violence in Egypt. His tardy attempts to stage-manage the situation have already damaged both Egypt and his own influence:

Prior to delivering this clear criticism regarding the insufficiency of Mubarak’s announcement that he would retire only at election time, Obama’s administration had cautiously navigated the crisis in Egypt. But this caution was cast to the wind this week with Washington’s blatant revocation of its endorsement of Mubarak. . . .
“I think that the Obama administration is really struggling to keep up with the events themselves,” Isobel Coleman, senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters.
“Obama and U.S. foreign policy are between a rock and a hard place: On the one hand, to sort of pull out the rug from under Mubarak doesn’t say much for our long-term relations with this guy; on the other hand, we have already been caught on the wrong side of history. The equivocation out of Washington is interpreted very clearly on the streets of Cairo as siding with the government,” said Coleman.

Notice that the White House spent Monday and Tuesday trying to make Obama the protagonist of the Egyptian drama. After Obama’s speech Tuesday, violence erupted Wednesday in Cairo. Now the White House is trying to keep the president off the stage.

Yesterday, the prominent Egyptian blogger known as “Sandmonkey,” whom PJTV’s Roger Simon says is the son of a top Egyptian general, was reportedly beaten, arrested and released. His car was “destroyed” and his cellphone taken away from him.

Drew M. at AOSHQ has an Egyptian news roundup.

UPDATE: Almost forgot – Roger Simon’s telephone interview with Sandmonkey:

UPDATE II: It’s not just Obama’s foreign policy that is implicated in the Egyptian crisis, but also his economic policy, as Dan Collins explains:

The gathering consensus is that the latest events in Egypt, while inspired in large part by “simmering resentment” against Mubarak’s regime, were in fact ignited by food shortages. Egyptian currency is pegged to the dollar, so as the dollar inflates due to “quantitative easing,” the policy of meeting debt obligations by printing more money, food naturally becomes more expensive on the market. So, those who say that Obama has inspired the unfolding events in the Middle East are right in a sense, though it has had little or nothing to do with his grandiloquent speech to the Egyptians during his Apology Tour.
This morning, the Telegraph tells us that worldwide food prices have hit an all-time high. On the global market, this is in part as well a function of rising energy costs, as crude oil now averages over $100 per barrel. . . .

Read the rest. It is little realized what a disastrously destabilizing political force inflation can be.


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