Bucking nearly 30 years of dictatorial rule, the Egyptian people peacefully compelled President Hosni Mubarak to relinquish power in early February. While many nations heralded the success of Egypt’s pro-democracy movement, Israel’s right-wing government views “elections in Egypt [as] dangerous” and clung to the hope that its “close friend” and ally Mubarak would weather the democratic protests and remain in power. Despite the U.S.’s dismissal of this view, the Israeli government’s decision to side with a dictator over democracy found support among a wide array of right-wing figures.
For instance, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), GOP Conference Chair Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), former Ambassador John Bolton, likely presidential candidate Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AK), and Fox News host Glenn Beck seemed comfortable championing the autocratic rule of a deposed dictator. However, the Bush Administration’s Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz had a different word for it: “crazy.”
On Fareed Zakaria GPS yesterday, Wolfowitz pointed out that “Israelis should welcome what’s happened in Egypt” instead of clinging to a “misplaced” nostalgia about an “irrelevant” regime. Wolfowitz also slammed the right-wing habit marginalizing Muslims as “dangerous,” adding “we shouldn’t say anyone who is of that faith is a problem, they are our best allies.”
ZAKARIA: You have people on the right effectively saying that the Obama Administration junked Mubarak too soon, that they should’ve supported him more, that they are allying for the rise of an Islamic caliphate. And of course the Israelis who really do seem to have deep Mubarak nostalgia.
WOLFOWITZ: It’s crazy. The Israelis should welcome what’s happened in Egypt. If only cynically, I mean, they — instead of associating themselves with a dead regime, they should try to find allies in Egypt. And I would assume there are millions of Egyptians who do not want to restart a war with Israel. And Mubarak wasn’t such a great bargain. He filled the Egyptian state-controlled media with anti-American junk, with anti-Israeli junk, even with violently anti-Semitic junk. So — but the nostalgia — I think the nostalgia is misplaced, but it’s completely irrelevant now. They and we should be thinking about the future.
ZAKARIA: What about the American right? Has it become so fearful of some kind of radical Islam that it is losing sight of the importance of democracy in your view?
WOLFOWITZ:…The view that I would like to associate with is the one I think of is Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan who believed that support for freedom, support for democracy is not only something that is morally important for the United States but equally, is strategically important that a freer, more democratic world is good for us….There is a dangerous argument I think that almost says if your a Muslim and you’re not an extremist, then you’re not a good Muslim. And that’s coming from people who aren’t Muslims at all….We shouldn’t say anyone who is of that faith is a problem, they are our best allies.
Unfortunately for Wolfowitz and other sober-minded national security experts, the GOP is committed to dragging Muslims through the mud. Dismissing Wolfowitz’s experience as “political correctness,” Rep. Peter King (R-NY) will begin his anti-American Muslim hearings on March 9 to prove that America’s “best allies” are somehow “the enemies within” — despite all evidence to the contrary.