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Out of ideas, Obama’s team throws more words at Egypt’s deadly violence

Posted 09:02 AM ET

AP (A disappointed Egyptian.)

AP (A disappointed Egyptian.)

Major powers like the United States have many ways to attempt to influence the actions of other countries — money, of course, humanitarian and military aid, personal and official contacts, sanctions, the media. None guarantee success.

But one thing guarantees failure: Hedging, Waffling, Whatever you want to call a foggy policy. And that is exactly what President Obama and his team have followed regarding Egypt and beyond. And now — and for perhaps years to come — the United States is paying the price for his Amateur Hour.

It’s yet another facet of the Obama Doctrine of Failure in the Middle East. Iran–Levy international sanctions to cripple the economy to force abandonment of its nuclear weapons development. That didn’t work, so maybe more will.

Libya–Bomb the bejesus out of the dictator’s army to help the rebels topple him, which worked great. A mob murdered him, saved a trial. But what filled the vacuum? Chaos as militias war, generating another potential lawless homeland, a mini-Afghanistan, for al Qaeda & Co. to flourish.

Syria–This time international sanctions will surely work to oust Bashir al-Assad. Except not. He has Russian help. Should we help the rebels? Which ones? OK, we’ll send weapons, even though it’s too late.

Then comes Egypt–The crown jewel of American diplomatic ineptitude, the site of Obama’s grandiose 2009 address to the Muslim world promising a new beginning.

Late to sense the Arab Spring, Obama stuck with dictator President Hosni Mubarak until he was clearly a goner, alienating the rising freedom forces. Late to support the new revolution, he’s all for the new constitution and elections. Which put in place the Muslim Brotherhood.

Late to spot its governing ineptitude and anti-democratic moves, for whatever ignorant or sinister reason Obama is silent about the brotherhood’s obvious moves to smother democracy now that it’s in power.

On his African trip last month and late to grasp the army’s ultimatum to the government to be more inclusive, Obama publicly telephones to support the embattled Brotherhood president hours before he’s ousted by the army, again alienating scores of millions of Egyptian democrats demonstrating for the military to rescue the country.

Meanwhile, thousands of Brotherhood supporters had cordoned off parts of Cairo and elsewhere in recent weeks. The army decided the government could not govern only parts of the country and the Brotherhood wasn’t sincere about negotiating.

So, it moved in Wednesday in force to take over Brotherhood areas. Conflicting reports said at least 400 died, police and protesters. “It was necessary to take a firm stand,” said Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi.

Both Obama and Biden are taking this week off. So, it was left to a deputy press secretary to explain the U.S. attitude: “The United States strongly condemns the use of violence against protesters in Egypt.” (Scroll down for full text.)

Strangely, no mention of Brotherhood violence, including the sacking and burning of government buildings and numerous Coptic Christian churches.

Secy. of State John Kerry, in a hastily-arranged media appearance just as his boss was playing another round of golf on Martha’s Vineyard, added his voice. He deplored the violence, of course, and warned that more of it will only lead to more instability and a longer path to reconciliation.

But while reciting the usual diplomatic yada-yada about both sides respecting the rights of others, Kerry announced no changes in U.S. policy. The administration has refrained from calling the military’s ouster of the Brotherhood a “coup” because that would, by law, trigger an automatic suspension of this country’s $1.3 billion in aid per year.

Truth is, that’s about the only U.S. leverage left. and it’s dwindling, as billions more in aid flood into Egypt from conservative Gulf regimes eager to stem the tide of radical Islamists.

Kerry gave an inadvertent admission of the limits of U.S. influence Wednesday. Instead of substantive actions, he was reduced to describing the many telephone calls he had made to Egypt and elsewhere. To no effect obviously, as the fighting raged all day.

Two years ago when Libyan rebels seized the capital of Tripoli, Obama interrupted his island vacation to make a TV statement, which gave him a large share of ownership of what became this Libyan mess including the Benghazi attack.

His absence was notable Wednesday. The White House only released a photo of Obama talking with security adviser Susan Rice over a lovely floral arrangement, presumably not about quarterback Tom Brady’s knee injury.

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Statement on Egypt by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest

The United States strongly condemns the use of violence against protesters in Egypt. We extend our condolences to the families of those who have been killed, and to the injured.

We have repeatedly called on the Egyptian military and security forces to show restraint, and for the government to respect the universal rights of its citizens, just as we have urged protesters to demonstrate peacefully.

Violence will only make it more difficult to move Egypt forward on a path to lasting stability and democracy, and runs directly counter to the pledges by the interim government to pursue reconciliation.

We also strongly oppose a return to a State of Emergency law, and call on the government to respect basic human rights such as freedom of peaceful assembly, and due process under the law. The world is watching what is happening in Cairo. We urge the government of Egypt – and all parties in Egypt — to refrain from violence and resolve their differences peacefully. ####

August 16, 2013 - Posted by | Home | , , , , , , ,

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