web analytics
December 26, 2014 / 4 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



A Reality-Driven Foreign Policy?

In the beginning, President Obama really thought he could change the world. And he had specific plans to do so, both here and abroad.

In the Middle East he resolved to bring the Arab countries into the 21st century by promoting democratic elections to rid the region of its despots. He ignored what he knew from his own experience as a community organizer and presidential candidate – namely, that elections go to the better organized – and ignored the lesson learned by his predecessor, George W. Bush, whose own vision of a Democratic Middle East was dealt a severe blow when the organized and motivated Hamas swamped the feckless Fatah in the U.S.-supported parliamentary election in Gaza in 2006.

In his Cairo speech a few months after taking office, Mr. Obama called for free and democratic elections and promised, as incentive, to retool U.S. relations with the Muslim world. The president’s words gained immediate traction, and within a year what became known as the Arab Spring was in full bloom. But it quickly became obvious that old dictators were being replaced by new autocrats obsessed with exercising power for its own sake and waging war on political rivals with scant attention paid to the wishes and needs of the people.

In Egypt, to cite the most pertinent example, Egyptian voters, after forcing Hosni Mubarak out of office through massive demonstrations and the assistance of the military, proceeded to elect one of the leaders of the radical fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Morsi, as president. Mr. Morsi thereupon proceeded to pack the government with members of the Brotherhood and sought to rule by decree. He also tried to ensure that the new constitution would be written by Islamists and he removed judges who opposed him.

The Obama administration’s careful and nuanced reaction to Mr. Morsi’s eviction from office last week at the hands of the Egyptian military suggests that President Obama has abandoned the simplistic notion that elections themselves necessarily result in governmental legitimacy. This is being played out in terms of whether the U.S. will cut off financial aid to Egypt until new elections are held.

U.S. law could not be plainer. Thus, Section 508 of the Foreign Assistance Act provides that

None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available to this Act shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree: Provided, That assistance may be resumed to such country if the President determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that subsequent to the termination of assistance a democratically elected government has taken office.

We note that there is no provision for a waiver of this provision.

Yet despite the very public role of the Egyptian military in the ouster of Mr. Morsi, President Obama has referred to U.S. support for “a set of core principles, including opposition to violence” and “a democratic political order with participation from all sides and all political parties.“

He also said the U.S. is “committed to the democratic process and respect for the rule of law.” But he studiously avoided characterizing the military’s role as a “coup,” saying only that “The United States is monitoring the very fluid situation in Egypt” and that given the recent developments, he had “directed the relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under U.S. law for our assistance to the government of Egypt.” He also called on the Egyptian military “to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible….”

When asked directly whether President Obama viewed the Egyptian army’s actions as a coup, White House press secretary Jay Carney said, “We are going to take the time necessary to review what has taken place. This is an incredibly complex and difficult situation.”

Clearly, Mr. Obama could have called the ouster of Morsi a “coup” and cut off aid. But he didn’t, choosing a more deliberate and measured response. Significantly, he called for a return to “a democratically elected civilian government” without mentioning Mr. Morsi in that context. Indeed, we are encouraged that Mr. Obama seems to have abandoned his earlier notions about the sanctity of elections regardless of context and seems instead to be trying to pursue U.S. interests regardless of labels.

At the same time, however, we cannot simply ignore U.S. law because it is inconvenient. We have seen that sort of thing in the Obama administration before with regard to immigration and national security issues, among others. There is, of course, precedent for presidential requests to Congress for enactment of special waiver power, as in the case of the military coup in Pakistan after 9/11. Given the lack of support for Mr. Morsi in Congress, such legislation may not be too difficult to achieve.

To be sure, Mr. Obama may have some wiggle room even under current law. While Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the budget committee that oversees foreign aid, has declared that “[the] law is clear: U.S. aid is cut off when a democratically elected government is deposed by military coup or decree,” there is an alternative view now emerging.

Some of Mr. Morsi’s opponents and members of Congress are arguing that what occurred in Cairo was not a coup as defined by the statute. They note that the military took action only after demonstrations by millions of Egyptians against Mr. Morsi’s policies indicated the extent of public discontent. “It’s not a coup because the military did not take power,” said Mohamed Tawfik, Egypt’s ambassador to the U.S. “The military did not initiate it. It was a popular uprising. The military stepped in order to avoid violence.”

In any event, we continue to be encouraged by the ongoing indications that President Obama seems to have abandoned his earlier, dangerously sophomoric, approach to the Middle East. This holds the promise of a more realistic U.S. policy for the remainder of Mr. Obama’s second term.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “A Reality-Driven Foreign Policy?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The Al Haeche kosher restaurant in Paris had bullet holes through the front window. Dec. 24, 2014.
Parisian Kosher Restaurant Second Anti-Semitic Gun Attack This Week
Latest Indepth Stories
Bill Cosby

It shakes our sense of justice when allegations against a famed role model are covered up or ignored

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Feiglin: Only true liberty will allow us to genuinely connect to our Jewish identity.

Knesset Logo

The silver lining with early elections is the chance to change the current dysfunctional government.

Cohen-122614

The Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland informed the host he could not say “Israel or Jewish state”

It’s fascinating how sources attain the status “traditional,” or its equivalent level of kashrus.

The West needs to ensure Russia understands that aggression comes at a significant cost.

What benefit is a learning experience that leaves kids confused,disillusioned&harms self confidence?

Girlfriend and double cop-killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley apparently was influenced by Islamic extremism.

We see pictures of mosques, monuments for terrorists, illegal schools, and hundreds of apartments being built on Jewish land without repercussions. We are losing Jewish property, so it is up to us to protect it.

Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.

Also left unsaid was the fact that the menorah and its oil were in the Beit HaMikdash, which of course was located on Har HaBayit – the Temple Mount that present-day Muslims claim as their own.

Despite strong pressure to throw the book at the accused, Mr. Thompson allowed him to plead guilty to assault.

A revolution is taking place between good and evil; light and darkness. Make the light activism!

Obama’s comments calling Israeli settlements “unhelpful”are harsher than prior US administrations’

More Articles from Editorial Board

Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.

Despite strong pressure to throw the book at the accused, Mr. Thompson allowed him to plead guilty to assault.

It seems to us that while the Jewish entitlement to the land of Israel transcends the Holocaust, the Jewish experience during that tragic time is the most solid of foundations for these “national rights.”

Too many self-styled civil rights activists seemed determined to force, by their relentless pressure, an indictment regardless of what an investigation might turn up.

Last year the Obama administration sought to minimize civilian deaths from drone strikes by generally requiring that missile attacks be limited to instances where Americans were directly threatened and there was a “near certainty” that no civilians would be killed.

If anything, Operation Protective Edge showed that Israel will not pull punches when it comes to combating terror.

Toward the end of Operation Protective Edge this past summer, the president was unusually vocal about Israel’s so-called disproportionate use of force and alleged lack of compliance with international humanitarian law.

There was no accompanying caption, but the cartoon could not help but feed the anti-Semitic canard that Israel was responsible for 9/11.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/a-reality-driven-foreign-policy/2013/07/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: