Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘Getting Off The Embarrassment Carousel’

Full piece here.

A good review of how we’ve gotten to this point:

‘Above all, the Administration needs to use the coming autumn not just to restore American credibility, but even more fundamentally to rebuild its image as being capable of mature, professional and responsible foreign policy behavior. If it doesn’t do that, there is no hope of its developing an effective policy toward the Syrian mess and, indeed, the region as a whole – ‘

I still don’t think many people understand the political and ideological commitments Obama seems to have also affect how he sees and reaches out to the world.

Don’t hold your breath.

Comments are worth a read.  We could still end up in a State of War.

Related On This Site:  A Few More Syria Links-’Unmitigated Clusterf**k?’

More Syria-From Via Media: ‘Congress on Syria: Going In On A Wing and A Prayer’From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’

Michael Totten At World Affairs: ‘Syria’s Regime Not Worth Preserving’James Kirchik At The American Interest: 

Michael Totten’s piece that revisits a Robert Kaplan piece from 1993, which is prescient:  “A Writhing Ghost Of A Would-Be Nation”.  It was always a patchwork of minority tribes, remnants of the Ottoman Empire

Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘What Did The Arab Spring Really Change?’…Liberal Internationalism is hobbling us, and the safety of even the liberal internationalist doctrine if America doesn’t lead…Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill

Is Bernhard Henri-Levy actually influencing U.S. policy decisions..? From New York Magazine: ‘European Superhero Quashes Libyan Dictator’Bernhard Henri-Levy At The Daily Beast: ‘A Moral Tipping Point’Charlie Rose Episode On Libya Featuring Bernhard Henri-Levy, Les Gelb And Others

Michael Totten Interviews Eric Trager: ‘The Truth About Egypt’

Full post here.

The United States has done a very poor job managing perceptions in Egypt. The administration assumed if it wasn’t critical about Morsi’s behavior domestically, they’d win his cooperation on foreign policy. The problem is that Morsi was only willing to cooperate with us on foreign policy in the short run. The Muslim Brotherhood wants to consolidate power in Egypt and then create a global Islamic state. It’s a key part of their ideology and their rhetoric. They talk about it with me. They can’t be our partners.

Worse, by not speaking up and criticizing Morsi as he tried to create unchecked power for himself, it created the impression that the United States wanted to replace Mubarak with the Muslim Brotherhood. That’s extremely damaging in a place like Egypt with such tumultuous politics’

We didn’t support the Brotherhood. We failed to speak up and manage perceptions. In the future, the only way to address this problem will be to make sure we don’t put all our eggs in one basket. We have to spread our risk by making sure we engage everybody.’

What kind of chance does the idea of democracy and democratic process have in Egypt given the endemic poverty, the oppression, and the lack of readiness in most of the people for it?

Placed against the backdrop of a longer-term Islamist resurgence in the Middle-East, pushing against Arab nationalism, and the answer is not too much.

Such a vision of ideal and pure one voice, one vote democracy in the most stable of countries can become a vehicle for majoritarian rule, leading to a quid pro quo politics of corruption, patronage, and vote-buying.

In Egypt, the democratic process was merely a stalking horse for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, and now the military has cracked back down hard on the Brotherhood, and it’s getting bloodier.

Related On This SiteNancy Okail At Freedom House: “‘Muslim Rage’ and the Politics of Distraction in Egypt’From Al Jazeera English: ‘Morsi Wins Egypt’s Presidential Election’Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest on Egypt: ‘Still More of the Same—and Something New’…are we still on a liberalizing, Westernizing trajectory?, however slow the pace? Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘What Did The Arab Spring Really Change?’