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Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 12/19/2010

Egypt: Just how weak can the administration be?

By Jennifer Rubin

The recent Egyptian elections were a travesty, and a direct rebuke to the administration's efforts at "quiet diplomacy." In the wake of massive election fraud, what has the Obama administration done?

Nothing, as far as we can tell. Following the first round of voting, there were some carefully worded statements from the State Department and the White House, but nothing personally from the president or the secretary of state. And in the days following the equally fraudulent run-off elections, the administration was almost entirely silent.

In yesterday's Post the assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, Michael Posner, wrote about the election in terms so mild, one would not suspect the administration was even mildly upset. Oh yes, he acknowledged:

Most reports show voter turnout in the recent parliamentary elections was less than 25 percent - reflecting Egyptians' lack of faith in their electoral process. Ongoing public demonstrations reinforce this fact. Indeed, in both rounds of parliamentary elections there were credible reports of significant government interference directed against voters at the ballot box. Opposition party observers and candidate representatives were blocked from polling places, domestic monitors were denied full access to observe the process, and international monitors were not allowed into the country. The June elections for Egypt's upper house of parliament were similarly troubled.

But what of it? I mean, do we consider this unacceptable? It's hard to tell, because Posner avoids even the mildest words of criticism. The worst thing he can say is that Iraq and Jordan held freer and more transparent elections this year. And with due respect to Posner, is this the highest-level official who cares about this issue?

You have to wonder: What is the point of such a mealy-mouthed expression by a relatively low-level functionary? You would think this only cements the impression that this administration is pathetically unserious about democracy promotion. This administration is diligent in recording human rights abuses, but inert when it comes to responding to them.

The problem is not limited to Egypt or even the Middle East, but the absence of resolve by the U.S. government is especially acute in that part of the world, which lacks many powerful champions for democracy and human rights. As a smart observer put it, "it's been a dreadful period for the victims themselves, left as they have been to ask themselves in silent desperation what has become of their champion." The answer is: He's not much interested in their plight.

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 19, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  foreign policy  
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Comments

Free elections in Egypt will mean the Muslim Brotherhood takes over, sooner than later.

Be careful Jennifer, what you wish for.

Posted by: IsraelP | December 19, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

It was obvious long before the presidential election that Barack Obama probably thought that American power was responsible for much of the grief in the modern world. The Egyptians and other dark skinned people are our victims. How can we say anything when America is so corrupt is the prevalent attitude of the utopians who dominate the Democratic Party. I am sorry but I lack the patience. People like me were pushed to the side. Too many guilt tripped white voters were overly anxious to prove they were not racists.

Posted by: DavidThomson | December 19, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

#1 IsraelP has it just about right. If the monarchical or dictatorial government any Arab Moslem country ever dared to hold free and fair elections(Iraq under American control excepted), every single one of them would be kicked out by either fundamentalist Moslem groups or out and out radical Moslem terrorist gangs and those guys would never hold another election. This is the basic problem of the Moslem world in general, and the Arab Moslem world in particular. All of these governments are so wildly corrupt, dysfunctional, and unpopular that most of the population lives for the day they can throw them out, believing that almost anyone would govern better.

Posted by: Beniyyar | December 19, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Pakistan had elections and religion based organizations were getting only 2% seats.As time goes by their %age is increasing.

If we keep supporting the Saudi Shariaism and Israeli Zionism,the religious influence will keep increasing in the world.Even in this country.

Posted by: mohammadakhan | December 19, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Maybe you would like Michelle Obama to try to place a call to the leading Egyptian opposition leader in jail?

I'm SURE you would give THAT situation a great writeup!

Posted by: 54465446 | December 19, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Is there a credible alternative to Mubarak other than the Muslim Brotherhood? We don't want one election one time, then Islamic tyranny for generations. Nor do we want a situation like in Iran when Jimmy Carter helped to undermine the Shah. Egypt may be in for some rough times after Mubarak.

Posted by: eoniii | December 19, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

eonii:

Kind of odd you and me being on the same side in this one isn't it?

Hey, just for the record, is there any country in the world where we're not responsible if something goes wrong?

Posted by: 54465446 | December 20, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

54465446, I think we should be promoting democracy in conjunction with our principles of limited government and the rule of law. Plebiscitary democracy in societies where there's no respect for minority rights or a functioning civil society is problematic at best. Democracy is only better than dictatorship if it won't rapidly degenerate into tyranny.

No, I don't accept the liberal prejudice that blames every injustice on the U.S. This world's problems certainly predate our international role, and we've been far more a force for good in the world than any other nation in history.

Posted by: eoniii | December 20, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Seriouly Jennifer,

How was this election any different to the previous one (while Bush was in power)? The last election was suposed to be free and fair, and Mubarak got a higher majority than he did with the ones he admitted to rigging.

This is how the US does business and has done for decades. The billions we send to Egypt are to keep this tyrant at the helm, not to motivae him to embrace democracy.

That's the last thing our foreign policy promotes.

Posted by: AndreDeAngelis | December 20, 2010 4:34 AM | Report abuse

We massively bribe the Egyptian government to maintain the cold peace with Israel, and necessarily wink at its excesses. If we turn off the spigot to another serial human rights abuser and leech, the Zionist entity, we can cut off Mubarak as well, with no great loss to us.

'Twon't happen, at lest not soon, because AIPAC still owns Congress when it comes to the Middle East. So much the worse for American soldiers and taxpayers.

Posted by: GrumpyOldMan | December 20, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

eonii wrote:

"No, I don't accept the liberal prejudice that blames every injustice on the U.S."

I was actually referring to you blaming Jimmy Carter for the fact that the Shah was born without a spine!

But that's all right, I believe your first paragraph was thoughtful and well written.

Thanks for the reply.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 20, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

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