As ThinkProgress reported today, former Bush administration official and U.N. Ambassador John Bolton abandoned his supposed belief in “democracy promotion” and told right-wing radio host Mark Levin that the Egyptian pro-democracy protests are a “big opportunity” for jihadists, siding with the Mubarak dictatorship.
Now, yet another high-profile Republican is disparaging the protest movement and openly siding with Egypt’s dictator. In a statement posted on his website last night, GOP Conference Chair Rep. Thaddeus McCotter wrote that “the Egyptian demonstrations are not the equivalent of Iran’s 2009 Green Revolution” and that “America must stand with her ally Egypt to preserve an imperfect government capable of reform.” He even went as far as to say that “freedom’s radicalized enemies are subverting Egypt” with the demonstrations:
“The Egyptian demonstrations are not the equivalent of Iran’s 2009 Green Revolution. The Egyptian demonstrations are the reprise of Iran’s 1979 radical revolution.
“Thus, America must stand with her ally Egypt to preserve an imperfect government capable of reform; and prevent a tyrannical government capable of harm. [...]
“This is not a nostalgic “anti-colonial uprising” from within, of all places, the land of Nassar. Right now, freedom’s radicalized enemies are subverting Egypt and other our allies.
McCotter’s remarks are as offensive as they are ignorant. To start with, the congressman is right that the demonstrations in Egypt are different than those in Iran. The protest movement in Iran was organized around its candidate in the election, who actually was literally an Islamist. Meanwhile, the demonstrations in Egypt were mostly spontaneous and led by younger progressive Egyptians; it was days before the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood even began taking part in the protests, and even now, they are far from the dominating force.
And while there are many legitimate concerns about the participation of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egyptian politics, it is important to note that the Egyptian Brotherhood has long denounced violence, even taking part in the movement to end violence against Coptic Christians.
Furthermore, it is almost comical to claim that Mubarak’s government is “capable of reform” and to say that the current government is opposed to a future “tyrannical government.” After all, in a desperate attempt to appease the democracy movement, Mubarak appointed vice president and prime minister who are essentially loyal to him; the appointed vice president was actually the head of the country’s notoriously brutal intelligence service.
Needless to say, it is insulting to the thousands who are demonstrating and many who have given their lives battling the Mubarak dictatorship for McCotter to baselessly suggest that they are actually the tools of violent jihadists and that we should continue our bankrupt policy of backing the dictatorship in Egypt.