A Holocaust Double Standard

This piece originally appeared at Souciant’s new blog. Check it out for a great deal of brilliant and different progressive thought.

I wrote recently about the apoplectic reaction of some members of Russia’s Jewish community to Stephen Fry’s very accurate

Avigdor Lieberman

Avigdor Lieberman

comparison of the atmosphere in Germany at the beginning of Adolph Hitler’s Fascist regime and Vladmir Putin’s incitement to hate and violence against LGBT people in Russia.

Today, Israel’s very own hatemonger, Avigdor Lieberman, from the obscurity of his forced suspension from his post as Foreign Minister on corruption charges, raises the Holocaust specter, though this time on much more specious (though, I certainly grant, not entirely non-existent) grounds. Continue reading

US Comedy of Errors Continues in Egypt

This piece originally appeared at LobeLog

The comedy of errors that is US involvement in Egypt is reaching new heights. The Obama administration continues to be torn by

Obama seems utterly incapable of choosing a direction in Egypt

Obama seems utterly incapable of choosing a direction in Egypt

conflicting preferences and concerns. This week its blunders reached new heights after it blessed the trip of Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham to Egypt. The ensuing farce was inevitable.

The GOP Senators are somewhat less obstructionist than others in their party; they have not always opposed Barack Obama’s policies simply because they were his policies. While many of the current Republican crew are virtually absolute in opposing anything Obama does, McCain, in particular, has only done that most of the time. But they are certainly not Obama’s allies, and, while the administration made it clear that the duo were not their representatives in Egypt, it was almost certain they would only complicate matters. So, they did.

Continue reading

A Short-Sighted US Policy In Egypt

This article originally appeared at LobeLog. 

It’s time to ask some tough questions about US policy regarding Egypt. The most pressing being what that policy is, exactly?

John Kerry in a pre-June meeting with then Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr, and then-President Mohammed Morsi

John Kerry in a pre-June meeting with then Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr, and then-President Mohammed Morsi

agreed with the easily assailable decision by the Obama administration to refrain from labeling the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi a coup. It still is my belief that doing so might be consistent with US law, but would not be helpful to Egypt. Instead of taking funding away from the military which, since it now directly controls the Egyptian till, would simply divert the lost funds from other places (causing even more distress to an already reeling Egyptian economy) it would be better to use the aid as leverage to push the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) toward an inclusive political process that would include drafting a broadly acceptable constitution and, with all due speed, re-installing a duly elected civilian government. Continue reading

Limited US Influence in Egypt Can Still Do Some Good

This article originally appeared at LobeLog.

When is a coup not a coup? When calling it that carries repercussions that make a bad situation worse.

US President Barack Obama is struggling with recent events in Egypt. Once again he’s presented with a situation in the Middle East where he has few good options but is still facing expectations based on a long history of US influence over events — an influence that is no longer situated in reality.

In contrast to the revolution that deposed Hosni Mubarak two years ago, the ouster of Mohammed Morsi raises some profound questions, not only for foreign powers, but for Egyptians themselves. There is no doubt that Morsi brought a lot of this on himself. He neglected the major issue for almost all Egyptians, the economy; he shamelessly tried to grab dictatorial powers; he did not follow through on his campaign promises to include the widest spectrum of Egyptians in his government; and, when confronted with all of this, he remained obstinate. Continue reading

Egypt’s Elusive Democracy

Once again, Egypt is in turmoil. Some of the characteristics of the current upheaval are similar to that of two years ago, but there are many differences. Still, the immediate outcome is largely the same, with the military taking over and promising to shepherd in a new civilian government, which it says will reflect the “will of the people.” But this process is even more fraught than the last one, while also holding the potential for a much better outcome. I examine this in Souciant this week.

Just Call Him OyBama

This week’s Souciant piece is up. It’s the first of what is likely to be many pieces over the next few months on Obama’s first term, his possible second one and just how bad things could be with a Republican president. In this piece, while I remind folks that things would have been much worse with McCain and will be much worse if Romney wins in November, Obama’s policy, or lack thereof, in the Middle East has been a disaster.