November 26, 2012

IBD and WSJ Editorials Make Morsi Power Grab-U.S. Praise Linkage the Rest of the Press Won’t

As has so often been the case for nearly four years, one needs to go to the editorial pages of the nation’s two leading financial publications, the Wall Street Journal and Investor’s Business Daily, to get to the truth behind news developments, especially the ones with potential to cast the Obama administration in a bad light.

There may not be a better example of the press ignoring the obvious than the circumstances surrounding Mohammed Morsi’s dictatorial power grab in Egypt. Morsi gained substantial perceived world standing when the U.S. government praised him lavishly (or is it slavishly?) for his involvement in brokering a truce of sorts in the Israel-Hamas conflict. As a Friday IBD editorial pointed out, Morsi is now “using America’s stamp of approval to oppress his own people” (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Obama Won’t Fight Morsi ‘Coup’ In Egypt

Cairo’s streets are filled with demonstrations against Egypt’s president. It sounds awfully familiar, but since the grievances are against an Islamist this time around, don’t expect “the people” to enjoy U.S. support.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who came to power as leader of the “civilizational jihadist” Muslim Brotherhood, is besieged with protests from his people after giving himself Pharaoh-like powers that include a ban on challenges to his decrees and the weakening of Egypt’s judiciary.

… Gee, isn’t Morsi a man of the people, personifying the “new beginning” of President Obama’s 2009 Cairo University “apology to Muslims” speech? And didn’t Morsi, just a day before his power grab, become the Peacemaker of Palestine by joining with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in forging an Israeli-Hamas cease-fire?

Morsi has become just as tyrannical as his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak — except Mubarak was a staunch U.S. ally who maintained peace with Israelis and kept the Mideast powder keg stable for decades, while Morsi so reviles the Jewish homeland he won’t let the word “Israel” pass his lips.

… don’t expect White House press secretary Jay Carney to announce that the Egyptian people’s “grievances have reached a boiling point, and they have to be addressed,” as his predecessor Robert Gibbs did when Mubarak was on the ropes.

And don’t hold your breath for Clinton — or whoever her successor is at the State Department — to call for “an orderly, peaceful transition to real democracy.

It took 24 hours for Morsi to take advantage of the prestige Obama and his secretary of state handed him. Now he’s using America’s stamp of approval to oppress his own people.

Today marks the fifth day since Morsi’s dictatorial power grab.

An 8:20 a.m. ET search at the national site of the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, on “Morsi Obama” (not in quote) reveals that the last story containing those two names (“ANALYSIS: WITH CEASE-FIRE, US PINS HOPES ON EGYPT”) was on November 22, and had no connection with Morsi’s tyrannical moves. A search on “Morsi State Department” also returns nothing later than November 15.

A Google News Archive search at 8:30 a.m. on “Obama Morsi” (not in quotes, past week, sorted by date) returns about 65 items, the first 45 of which relate to the power grab. Though there are several op-eds and blog posts at establishment press publications among the 45, about the only item even resembling timely, hard-news analysis of the story as it developed was at the Wall Street Journal — predictably, in a Friday afternoon editorial:

… The world has feared that the Muslim Brotherhood would favor one-man, one-vote, once, and the Morsi coup is an ominous sign.

“The people wanted me to be the guardian of these steps in this phase,” Reuters quoted Mr. Morsi as saying on Friday. “I don’t like and don’t want—and there is no need—to use exceptional measures. But those who are trying to gnaw the bones of the nation” must be “held accountable.”

Mr. Morsi says his diktat will merely last as long as it takes the country to adopt a new constitution, which is what authoritarians always say. They claim to be a necessary step on the way to democracy, but democracy never arrives. Mr. Morsi’s rationalization is that he must have this power to “protect the revolution,” as if the demonstrators who deposed Hosni Mubarak in 2011 merely wanted another Mubarak with a beard and prayer rug. Mr. Morsi is claiming more power than Mr. Mubarak ever had.

The immediate losers will be Egypt’s liberals and the Western journalists who inhaled the vapors of Tahrir Square. But whatever Mr. Morsi intends, the Pakistan model is not a recipe for a more stable Egypt.

Mr. Morsi’s coup is also awkward for the Obama Administration, which had been praising the Egyptian in media backgrounders for his role in brokering the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Mr. Morsi was hailed as a moderate statesman. Yet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had barely left Cairo before Mr. Morsi made his move. He may have figured that all the praise made it easier for him to grab more power.

Exactly — except instead of calling it “awkward” for the Obama administration, Morsi’s moves should be seen as either the culmination of a two-year foreign policy failure (assuming the administration really wanted to see representative government in Egypt), or the apparently imminent success of a two-year campaign of deception (if one believes that the Obama and his administration’s upper echelon really prefer to see an Islamist state there and believed that its assistance in fomenting the “Arab Spring” would likely bring about that result).

Cross-posted at


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