Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Did Bush’s Democracy Plan go Poof? His Drive to Remake the Middle East is taking a U-turn in Egypt

The following editorial was written by Max Boot, a Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Boot is also a weekly foreign- affairs columnist for the Los Angeles Times.

In his editorial, Boot discusses the shift in Bush’s attitude towards Egypt’s administration since 2002. Boot writes that currently the US administration has not called upon Mubarak to justify his political opposition’s, Ayman Nour, imprisonment. Yet back in 2002 the US administration threatened to take away $130 million worth of aid set aside for Egypt unless the government freed Saad Eddin Ibrahim—another liberal oppositional force to Mubarak—from jail.

Boot wonders why the tactic to free Ibrahim is not also being employed by the US to free Ayman Nour.

Boot writes,

“…the administration has blocked any attempt to tie U.S. aid to improvements in Egypt's dismal human rights record. When Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wis.) tried earlier this year to withhold $200 million of Egypt's $1.8-billion aid package, Assistant Secretary of State David Welch went to Capitol Hill to lobby against the measure. ‘Our strategic partnership with Egypt is in many ways a cornerstone of our foreign policy in the Middle East,’ Welch asserted. ‘The United States and Egypt share a common vision of a Middle East that is at peace and free of the scourge of terror.’

“This sort of claptrap has been emanating from Foggy Bottom Arabists for decades. Bush seemingly repudiated this policy of uncritical support in a 2003 speech to the National Endowment for Democracy in which he called on Egypt to ‘show the way toward democracy in the Middle East.’ After making a few genuflections in that direction, Mubarak is now back to his wicked old ways. And yet he suffers no consequences - none! - for defying the wishes of the United States and, more important, of his own people.”

To read this op-ed piece in full, click here


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