Leading By Standing Still

The New York Times today seemed to criticize President Obama for taking up an “aloof” stance versus the mess taking place in Egypt.  There were no suggestions as what a more active role might be.  The Times did say there was probably little the US could do given its relationship with Egypt.  So, what other relationship would serve to influence this Muslim country?  Hmmm.

The press refers to the Morsi Government as the only freely and democratically elected government Egypt has ever known.  While factual, one wonders what the meaning of that statement is?  Does the press mean that the US should be more involved in saving the fledgling democracy regardless of where this “democracy” was heading?

It is difficult to know what the Obama Administration is thinking.  You can be sure that if Israel thought the US should be intervening, AIPAC would have their Congressional spokespersons on the talk shows already.  The absence of any rhetoric traceable to Israel probably means they think the overthrow of Morsi is the better of two poor options.

Criticism from hard line Islamist groups suggest a disgust for Morsi.  They seem to think Morsi tried to play the democracy game (as opposed to outright power grab) only to fail in bringing about stronger Koran influence.  Morsi did not break ties with Israel, he did not denounce the US, and he did not mandate more Sharia law initiatives (some but not a lot yet).

Others might look at his record and say Morsi was just getting started.  He had already changed the Constitution (majority vote, but very close) and by edict, he assumed wide new authorities.  He had already begun to tip “democratic” policies into “non-inclusive” Muslim ways.  These efforts carried a seemingly unrecognized lost opportunity cost.

The street demonstration, however, are all about the economy and jobs.  Hmmm.

Citizens do not place great demands on governments that bring food and work to the poor.  While no one likes corruption, hungry and out of work citizens like that condition even less.  In a country that is almost 100% Muslim, the winning side will be the side which delivers jobs.  This will be a tall order in Egypt.

Leading by standing still might not be a bad strategy after all.


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2 Comments on “Leading By Standing Still”

  1. List of X Says:

    Israel will keep quiet because they don’t want to be seen by Egyptians as meddling in Egyptian politics. Israel is already not too popular in Egypt and they will gain nothing by supporting either side.
    And this is exactly what how the US should react.

    • X, you might be correct, but I do not share your thinking on Israel. They are very clever manipulators of public opinion. They also stand to inherit a lot of grief were Egypt to turn strongly Islamist (like Iran).

      We can both agree that the US needs to keep its hands in its pocket.

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