Many years ago, I took a class with Professor Badeau, the one-time American ambassador to Egypt. In describing how Jamal Abdul Nasser became the leader of Egypt, he recalled Nasser’s confession to him that “I saw a crowd and got to the front of the line.” I remembered this anecdote when I saw Mohamed ElBaradei making his appearance among the crowd at Tahrir Square in Cairo today.
I also got a fare amount of This Week on ABC and was delighted to see Christiane Amanpour back in her milieu, medium – where she excels best – in the thick of things, reporting from the field.
I also saw Mrs Clinton’s roots. This day her roots where way to striking than other days. It is a pity that the face of American diplomacy should be wrapped in shades of such grotesque hypocrisy when the world so yearns straight talk, particularly from its self-appointed righteous one.
On NBC’s Meet the Press, Mrs. Clinton said “We want to see free and fair elections and we expect that will be one of the outcomes of what is going on right now.” The implication of a statement like this is very clear, even though it was not clear which election Mrs. Clinton was referring to. For the record, the most recent Egyptian parliamentary election took place on 28 November 2010, with a second round on 5 December 2010. 81% of the seats went to Hosni Mubarak’s party, the National Democratic Party. There were boycotts, disqualifications of candidates, and allegations of fraud and some arrests. Similar irregularities and unfair practices plague the last presidential elections in September 2005, which Mubarak “won” with 88.6% of the votes.
Mrs. Clinton’s urging of a free and fair election clearly evidences her belief or the Administration’s that one or both of the Egyptian elections was not free and fair. The question is why wait this long to protest?
Even now the U.S. is hedging, as Mrs. Clinton refused to denounce the past inadequacies of the Egyptian elections. Instead, with a straight face, told NBC’s Meet the Press, that she wants the Egyptian people to chart a real democracy, “not a faux democracy like the elections we saw in Iran 2 years ago.” Emphasis added.
Wait a minute, Mrs. Clinton! Granted, the Iranian elections were questionable, “faux elections,” whatever – but why is it that when you are clearly talking about Egypt that you need to reference not the two previous rigged Egyptian elections, but Iran’s? What is exactly the relation between one’s flatulence with the vein in the temple? My cousin, used to say, plenty: if you try too hard to pass gas, you can busrt the shaqiqeh!
What amuses me in all this is the desperate attempt by the U.S. Administration not to make the mistake that the Carter Administration did some thirty plus years ago. What Mrs. Clinton and President Obama are doing is the time-honored Persian tarfand of kajdar mariz, which is the technique of hobbling along uncommitted-ly, fence-sitting, as it were (literally, carrying a saucer atilt without spilling its content). The protestors are no dummies! They see the games the U.S. is playing and will not judge the “neutrality” of the Administration favorably, nor will Mubarak if he survives this tumult.