Middle East

A Step Backward in Cairo


Remember this statement by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in June 2005? It was made at the American University in Cairo, and for many people represented a fundamental American reassessment of past U.S. policy in the Middle East.

We should all look to a future when every government respects the will of its citizens—because the ideal of democracy is universal. For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region here in the Middle East– and we achieved neither. Now, we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people.

Well, Rice is back in Cairo, and we might want to reassess that supposed reassessment.

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  1. The push for Democracy was BS in June of 2005 and it is BS now. The only difference between then and now is that nobody’s buying the Democracy schtick. New war rationale: salvage the pieces of the old undefined mission.

  2. To defend Rice (in a way which completely demolishes her, and everything she has stood for over the past 7 years), the fallout from the Iraq War has made it virtually impossible for us to carry out the sort of destabilizing, ally-irritating push for democracy she was talking about back then.

    Getting the situation in Iraq under control is going to require us to call in favors from our friends, and our dearest enemies, in the region. We’re stimply in position right now to lean on them.

    Between this and the collapse of the Iranian resistance movement, the Iraq War has proven to be a disaster for Middle Eastern democracy.

  3. Sometimes a step backwards is the only thing that saves you from falling on your ass.

    Which tends to happen when you try stunts you’re not equipped to pull off.

  4. What Lamar said.

    Yes, we were supposed to spread democracy, but it was supposed to be easy. When it turned out not to be easy in Iraq, the government quietly dropped it from the platform.

    Of course, the real reason for many of the country’s woes is the Bush Administration’s insistence on only doing things that are easy (in the short term).

  5. For the life of me, I can’t begin to fathom why Condi hitched her wagon to W’s star. It’s just nauseating hearing her trying to defend the indefensible week after week. One can legitimately wonder if GW is so dim and deluded as to believe the things that come out of his mouth. But Rice’s words and eyes betray too much intelligence, too much education. I just can’t believe she believes. So what was her compliance bought with?

  6. Belief in the Magical Mysterm Regime Change Tour wasn’t “W’s star,” Warren.

    It was the core belief of neoconservatives when George Bush was still smirking over execution warrants in Texas. The infamous PNAC letter was from 1998.

    Rice didn’t jump on George Bush’s Pre-emptive Regime Change Bandwagon – rather, neoconservatives like her convinced Bush to jump on their bandwagon. She isn’t out there defending Bush so much as the worldview that has animated her entire theory of foreign policy for a decade.

  7. F.I.R.E.I.N.C.A.I.R.O.


  8. We have met the Islamofascist, and he is us.

  9. The same caveat applies to both “Virginia is for lovers” and “We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people.”

    Some restrictions apply.

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