July 5 2013

The Company He Keeps

Charlotte Hays

Something is beginning to seriously bug me about our president: his natural affinity for the bad guys.

I already have blogged about President Obama’s unnecessary toasting the dictator Julius Nyerere the other day in Tanzania.

Nyerere pretty much wrecked Tanzania with his Marxist ideas. And it’s not as if anybody was going to say, “Hey, Mr. President, you forgot to toast Julius Nyerere (d. 1999).” POTUS went out of his way to toast a dead dictator.

The president’s obvious affinity for living but deposed Mohamed Morsi is far more troubling. The budding tyrant may have been elected by the people of Egypt. But clearly they had second thoughts and knew that, if Morsi stayed, that was likely the last time Egyptians would in any meaningful sense vote.

Most people heaved a sigh of relief that Morsi is (for now) gone from the political stage. He was anti-American, pro-sharia, and was hell bent on creating an Islamist Egypt. If you read the president’s statement on Egypt, you might be excused for thinking that President Obama is not pleased.

You don’t really have to parse. Here is Commentary’s Jonthan Tobin’s take:

The text contains anodyne proclamations about democracy and the participation of all groups in the government of Egypt that are unexceptionable. But it also clearly states that the president is “deeply concerned” about the ouster of Morsi and the suspension of the Egyptian constitution that brought him to power, calls upon the military not to arrest the deposed leader or other Muslim Brotherhood officials, and then pointedly says that he has “directed the relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under U.S. law for our assistance to the Government of Egypt.”

In other words, you don’t have to read too closely between the lines to understand that Obama is angrier about regime change in Cairo than he ever was about the Islamist attempt to remake Egypt in their own image.

U.S. law rightly requires that foreign aid be reviewed whenever there is a coup. I’d like to have seen us review it under the anti-U.S. Morsi but for once I hope that we’ll continue the aid—if Egypt seems headed in a direction beneficial for the Egyptian people and—yes—for the United States. Things could go many ways in Egypt—it could be a fiasco or slow improvement.

But it worries me that from the beginning of his presidency, when he was not overly eager to give verbal encouragement to dissident Iranians marching in the streets (and calling on President Obama for help), to now, the president doesn’t seem to have a better sense of who the good guys are.   

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