The parallels are so close, they’re almost eerie. The Shah of Iran was no champion of human rights, and neither was Hosni Mubarak. That gave the opposition groups to both an opportunity to appeal to the world’s conscience as the great hope of their people to live at last in dignity – an opportunity that both exploited with great aplomb. Both the Shah and Mubarak were relatively secular rulers who for decades successfully held at bay the pro-Sharia Islamic supremacist forces that despised and longed to topple them. Both had mutually beneficial relationships with the United States – not perfect ones, by any means, but alliances of convenience that fostered stability in troubled regions.
Both the Shah and Mubarak then ran afoul of leftist Democrat presidents who positioned their betrayal of these undeniably less-than-perfect allies as a responsibility necessitated by their commitment to human rights. These presidents appeared naïve to many, but may not have been simply wrongfooted by events: Jimmy Carter praised the Ayatollah Khomeini as a fellow “man of faith,” and Barack Obama’s Muslim upbringing (quite aside from the ever-swirling rumors about his actual religious affiliation) appear to have given him a warmly positive view of Islam and Sharia. Both, in other words, may have viewed the demise of the relatively secular regimes that the U.S. had supported before they became president as a positive development, an expression of the self-determination of the people of each country, and the installation of the rule of a religion that was – they believed – truly moderate, peaceful and tolerant at its core.
In any case, undeniably Carter in Iran and Obama in Egypt got the regimes they wanted. They got the expression of “democracy” that they assured the American people would usher in a new era of peace and freedom. In both cases, they made their decisions based on politically correct falsehoods and fantasies rather than harsh realities. And in both cases, as is increasingly clear in Egypt, innocent Americans have had to pay for their myopia.
This is the Egypt, and this is the Middle East, that Barack Obama has given us. And in the coming weeks and months, he will find that the forces he has helped unleash will be impossible to contain.
Jimmy Carter was soundly defeated for a second term in the 1980 presidential election. But when Barack Obama took office in January 2009, Carter in effect came back to the White House. It is significant in this connection that Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter’s National Security Advisor and so viciously anti-Israel that he has declared that U.S. aircraft in Iraq should violently impede an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, has advised Obama extensively on foreign policy issues.
As bad as the situation in Egypt is today, however, by far the worst aspect of Barack Obama’s Jimmy Carter reprise act regarding that unhappy country is that no Ronald Reagan appears to be on the horizon.
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