Obama had delivered one of his great speeches in Cairo in June 2009. Apart from the diplomatic cables leaked by Bradley Manning later that year to WikiLeaks which demonstrated, among other things, shameless political corruption and how the United States supported and stabilized dictatorships in MENA, even Obama’s nice words (they ultimately earned him the Nobel Peace Prize) may have let to a revolutionary situation when he said, for instance,
“The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known. We were born out of revolution against an empire. We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal, and we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words — within our borders, and around the world.
“I know — I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: No system of government can or should be imposed by one nation by any other.
That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere.
Now, there is no straight line to realize this promise. But this much is clear: Governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments — provided they govern with respect for all their people.”
He even addressed then long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak,
“This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they’re out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. (Applause.) So no matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who would hold power: You must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.”
Immediately after that sentence, one could hear an excited voice, “Obama, we love you!”
Obama today is much more cautious in what he says, but what he doesn’t say is deafening. He had never sympathized with WikiLeaks and any of the Arab Revolutions, be it in Tunesia, Egypt, Yemen or uprising in Bahrain or eastern provinces in Saudi Arabia. That Egypt has held meanwhile several elections, it’s just a nuisance. When the elected Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi was ousted by a military coup, his Secretary of State John Kerry called it “restoring democracy”. Meanwhile the junta has shown its real face. Hundreds have been killed in a massacre yesterday. But Obama seems to be just dismayed. A shameless “[l]et me say that the Egyptian people deserve better than what we’ve seen over the past several days,” but no word about cancelling the grotesque sum of $ 1.3 billion of military aid per year. He just cancelled a scheduled joint military exercise.
15 August 2013 @ 6:09 pm.
Last modified August 15, 2013.