Obama needs to choose between Hillary and Egypt

It’s a matter of public record that Hillary Clinton considers Hosni Mubarak “a close family friend.” Maybe that clouded her judgment when she arrogantly proclaimed that Egypt had a stable government that answers to the needs of the people. She didn’t get Tunis right and she’s all over the map with Egypt. If she can’t put aside her personal affections for the thieving billionaire pharaoh, she should just step aside.

One has to wonder why Hillary is straining herself to accelerate America’s declining reputation and influence in the region.  The Independent of London has just reported that Frank Weisner, Obama’s ‘envoy’ to Mubarak was “employed by an American lobbying and law firm, Patton Boggs, which works for the Mubarak regime and several leading Egyptian commercial families".  If Hillary was aware of that conflict of interest, she needs to resign immediately. If she didn’t know, she needs to resign anyway after explaining why Citizen Weisner was hand-picked to negotiate an ‘orderly transition’ with a dictator he still does business with. 

Unless Clinton is completely untutored in the Middle East, she had to know Weisner’s pedigree. The Weisner clan has a family tradition of supporting Middle Eastern Tyrants. His father, Frank Weisner Senior, was the Directorate of Plans at the CIA and was instrumental in supporting pro-American forces that toppled Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953. Weisner Senior replaced Mossadegh with the Shah and we all know how that little episode ended.

Two weeks into the Egyptian uprising, Hillary is sending out confusing messages and the bill for her follies has been picked up by the 300 plus Egyptians who have so far perished at the hands of Mubarak’s thugs.

Let’s be very clear about what every policy maker knows about Hillary’s family friend. First off, Mubarak is a multi-billionaire – which is hard to explain given that the ailing dictator’s only legitimate source of income is his government paycheck. He’s a thug who has administered a police state for three decades. He’s an arsonist who recently disbanded his police force and opened the prison gates to create enough chaos to justify a curfew. He’s a gangster whose ruling party raised an army of hired goons to attack peaceful demonstrators. He’s a censor who unplugged the entire country from the internet and encouraged his security forces to assault foreign journalists so his state owned media could control the message. He’s a compulsive liar who promised the Egyptian people that he would only serve two terms but ended up lording over them for five consecutive terms. I could add more to his resume – but that’s a fair enough portrayal of Hillary’s family friend.

There is one other thing about Mubarak that’s worth mentioning – his people hate him.

It’s time for Obama to get a grip. He can’t be for Hillary and the Egyptian people. The president needs to make a choice. Egyptians are intent on taking control of their own destiny and Hillary appears to be out of control. Obama says one thing – Hillary says another. It’s not that Egyptians are going to wait for Americans to make up their minds. They know that Mubarak was a useful American ‘asset.’ They know that the United States is trying to come up with a ‘Plan B’ to accommodate their unscheduled uprising. And from where they stand in Tahrir Square, Hillary’s new policy is to ease out the old dictator and keep the dictatorship in place. That’s not going to happen. Egyptians have finally inhaled the sweet scent of liberty and they have paid for it in blood. I don’t think that message has gotten through to Hillary. Egyptians don’t just want to be free of their dictators – they want zero American meddling in their affairs. Americans have a history in this region and it’s not something they should boast about and it’s not something they should want to repeat.  

What Hillary is attempting to do is abort the Egyptian revolution.  If she fails, they’ll be a price to be paid. Egyptians are going to remember the forces that stood against their struggle for liberty. If she succeeds, the price will be unbearable. The level of repression the regime will dole out to its adversaries will be something on the order of Pinochet’s Chile. But the response to repression will be radicalization in the entire region and Obama better get the CIA on the phone and get a little ‘blow-back’ assessment before he signs off on Hillary’s plan. That should be enough rope to reign in Hillary for having such nasty family friends.