This is a crosspost from Lobelog.
Everyone’s watching Egypt. Everyone. But Daniel Pipes sees right through it, to where Iran is lurking in the background.
It’s right there in the opinion section of the Washington Times, where even Frank Gaffney is zoomed in on the Muslim Brotherhood and has the decency not to mention Iran. (Gaffney’s piece is called “The Muslim Brotherhood is the Enemy“, and I didn’t read it, but searched it for ‘Iran’, ‘Tehran’, and ‘mullah’, and: nada.)
As Egypt’s much-anticipated moment of crisis arrived and popular rebellions shook governments across the Middle East, Iran stands as never before at the center of the region. Its Islamist rulers are within sight of dominating the region. But revolutions are hard to pull off and I predict that Islamists will not achieve a Middle East-wide breakthrough and Tehran will not emerge as the key powerbroker.
Check out that deft change of subject in the first sentence!
Oh, and did you know that U.S. President Barack Obama is supporting the nasty Islamists in Egypt, the very Brotherhood that Gaffney is warning us about?
Sure, you say, democracy advocates from across the political spectrum are asking for Obama to do more to usher Egyptian dictator Honsi Mubarak out of power. But Pipes has a different story. He concludes:
The link for that Islamist allegation, from the version of the piece on Pipes’s hompage, goes to Obama’s catch-up speech on Thursday night after he spoke to Mubarak. Only Pipes saw the Islamist connection; he went to Harvard, you know, and runs a think tank.
But do tell, Pipes, what should Obama do?
He should emulate Bush but do a better job, understanding that democratization is a decades-long process that requires the inculcation of counter-intuitive ideas about elections, freedom of speech, and the rule of law.
If there’s any question about whether some neoconservatives are democratic opportunists for the purpose of scoring political points, that about settles it.
And the “inculcation of counter-intuitive ideas about elections, freedom of speech and the rule of law”? It seems to me that Egyptians, at this moment, are perfectly attuned to these notions. How racist.
And wasn’t the idea that all people have these aspirations at the very heart of Bush’s 2005 State of the Union? Jennifer Rubin, the neoconservative Washington Post blogger, cited that very passage in support of her hallucination “that it was the left that said that democracy was alien to the Middle East. Bush was right; they were wrong.” (Pipes may actually be on Rubin’s left.)
Elliott Abrams, too, hauled out a similar Bush passage — that everyone is ‘ready’ for democracy — when he presented his own bogus narrative that the Iraq War was being vindicated by current events. (Doesn’t Pipes read his comrades?)
Nonetheless, on Egypt: Eli Lake has a good piece on the New Republic about Bush’s failure to push for genuine reform in Egypt. We don’t really know exactly what’s going on in the White House right now, though we’re getting some hints (Mubarak will be out).
After reading Lake’s piece, what’s stands out as ironic is that Obama’s caution, at the moment, seems an awful lot like he’s already ‘emulating’ Bush. To do something about it, and call for or arrange Mubarak’s ouster, would indeed be doing a “better job” than Bush, as Pipes put it.
But Pipes can’t be bothered with details or history. It’s all about Iran.
Oh, and the guy in the Obama administration responsible for designing U.S. policy toward Iran (and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process) sits on the board of editors at Daniel Pipes’s pseudo-academic journal. How comforting is that?