"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Thursday, August 15, 2013

John Bolton on Egypt

This is how adults who are realists talk about foreign policy.   Any comparison to the present POTUS is entirely intentional:

The Muslim Brotherhood has acted as if it is a power unto itself and Egypt. It is not a normal political party as we understand that term in the United States. It’s more like an armed militia and even though Mohammed Morsi the ousted President won narrowly an election last year, in office he acted in ways that would have entrenched the brotherhood in power and the saying is that as the wags have it one person one time,–one person, one vote, one time, so I don’t have any doubt here that the brotherhood wanted this confrontation. They were not going to acknowledge the interim government. And, although it’s bloody and it’s undoubtedly going to get worse, this reflects a fundamental divide in Egyptian society. You could paper it over with negotiations day after day but the divide wasn’t going to go away. It’s much to be regretted, but the idea that this is all one sides fault or the others is a bad way to look it at. So, what should the United States do? The United States should look to its fundamental national interests which are in this situation, I think two. Interest number one, we want an Egyptian government that will abide by its commitments under the Camp David Peace Accord with Israel. That is the foundation stone of American foreign policy in the region since 1979. It’s perfectly clear the Muslim brotherhood would abrogate that treaty as soon as it could. Let’s not forget, it was the Muslim Brotherhood that killed Anwar Sadat in 1981 for negotiating the treaty in the first place, so there’s no doubt that our interests seems to me lie with the forces that control the interim government here. And, number two, we have a clear interest in keeping the Suez Canal open and that requires a government that has the ability to restore order and to recognize its international obligations with respect to the Canal, and that doesn’t seem to me to be the Brotherhood either. Is this a happy choice? Of course not, but that’s what America ought to focus on. We’re not going to effect politics inside Egypt. They are obviously already out of the control even of the Egyptian people, but we can focus on our interests and that’s what we should do.

I would add a third interest.   We must side with the party that will protect Coptic Christians from becoming the victims of an Islamist pogrom.   That means siding with the military against the Muslim Brotherhood.  

If Obama won't lay down a "red line" telling the Muslim Brotherhood that the killing of Christians and the burning of churches won't be tolerated, then what the hell good is he?  

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