Phil Weiss’ title for this story says the State Dep’t “says” the above, and he adds that democracy is not good for Egypt “because of Israel.” In actuality, this is Phil Weiss’ analysis. However, because the word “democracy” in Egypt is not even mentioned by the State Department representative, there is every reason to believe he is probably right.
Thanks to Pulse, (the above video) is a wonderful interview of State Dep’t spokesman P.J. Crowley by Shihab Rattansi of Al Jazeera that shows why Obama talked about Tunisian democracy in the State of the Union but said nothing about democracy in Egypt. At about 5:40 Rattansi asks Crowley why the U.S. with all its leverage over Egypt doesn’t pressure it to call off the dogs and let the society move toward democracy?
Says Crowley: “We respect what Egypt contributes to the region, it is a stabilizing force, it has made its own peace with Israel, and is pursuing normal relations with Israel, we think that’s important, we think that’s a model that the region should adopt broadly speaking. at the same time, we recognize that Egypt, Tunisia other countries do need to reform, they do need to respond to the needs of their people, and we encourage that reform and are contributing across the region to that reform.”
Rattansi: [paraphrased] but if Egypt can’t guarantee stability, what’s the point of all your financial support.
Crowley: “We rely on Egypt as an ally to be a stabilizing force in the region… that has benefits across the region.”
In fact, Joe Biden just came out even more strongly on this very theme: On the PBS News Hour Biden doesn’t appear to know what to say, except that Mubarak is not a dictator. Biden can’t seem to spit out the word “democracy,” let alone embrace it.
JOE BIDEN: Look, Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things and he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interests in the region: Middle East peace efforts, the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing the relationship with Israel.
And I think that it would be — I would not refer to him as a dictator.
Whether the US position is taken for Israel’s sake or not, it is quite clear that we are not for democracy in Egypt. What a revoltin’ development dis’ is (as the Brooklyn actor William Bendix liked to say).