Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Miles from the Mainstream
D. R. ZUKERMAN, proprietor

Further Reflections on Political Developments in Egypt by Reference to The New York Times

July 17, 2013 --

The New York Times reported, July 6, that President Obama "[p]rivately...was frustrated that Mr. Morsi had never reached out to the opposition...." LPR could imagine ex-President Morsi responding that he simply followed the Obama style of governance: "it's my way -- or the highway."

The New York Times, July 5, quoted a prominent Egyptian's mention of former New York Yankee catcher Lawerence Peter Berra, in commenting on the huge throng that called for the ouster of President Morsi. Mohamed ElBaradei noted of the huge protests: "'As Yogi Berra said, 'it's deja vu all over again....'" And perhaps to emphasize the "deja vu" aspect, the Times printed the quote in two articles on page A10 of the July 5 paper.

Imagine that a political group -- let's call in the Anti-Democracy Party -- wins the 2016 elections in the U.S., and proceeds to dismantle the Constitution and outlaws all other political parties.

Would The New York Times criticize the U.S. military if it stepped in and ended the anti-democracy rule of the Anti-Democracy Party? Oops. The Anti-Democracy Party would have closed down The New York Times, long before then.

New York Times articles, July 3 and July 4 mentioned an anti-American tinge to the political demonstrations in Egypt. The Times, however, did not publish images of anti-Obama posters. There The New York Times goes again -- airbrushing images that would not have been airbrushed if the posters criticized George W. Bush. But then, weren't anti-American images supposed to end with the Obama presidency?

Equally silent was The New York Times on the theocratic nature of the Constitution that Morsi imposed on Egypt.

LPR is confident that The New York Times would not be silent on theocratric developments in U.S. politics. LPR asks The New York Times: if your silence on Islamist theocratic developments in Egypt reflects respect for Egyptian national self-determination, why does such respect not apply to all religio-political developments in Egypt? That is to say: here in the U.S., we have our way of removing a president with regard of the election process -- shouldn't we let the people of Egypt have their way of ousting a president?

Consider, too, the Bush-Gore election result in 2000. Gore won the popular vote by a small margin--but did not gain the constitutionally-required majority in the electoral college. What if Al Ahram, in Cairo, editorialized that the Bush victory imperiled American democracy? Should Bush have resigned in favor of Gore? Hmm. The New York Times might well have cheered such an editorial--even if written during Mubarak's rule.

Thomas Friedman, in his July 10 New York Times column suggested that the Muslim Brotherhood, post-Morsi, should be given "a fair shot at contesting power." He also declared: "Egypt will not be stable if the Brotherhood is excluded." Somehow, LPR cannot imagine that Mr. Friedman would call for a revived Nazi party to contest power in Germany, adding that Germany would not be stable if the Nazis are excluded." LPR would call attention to ao comment from an Egyptian Islamist, quoted in The New York Times, July 5: "'We don't believe in democracy to begin with; it's not part of our ideology.'" Perhaps Mr. Friedman did not see the July 9 Times editorial, "Bloodshed in Egypt" which asserted that "the lesson of the Arab Spring should be that investing in authoritarian rulers is not a recipe for long-term stability. LPR would ask, how could an Islamist government not be authoritarian?

The New York Times, expressing "some sympathy for President Obama, in its July 9 editorial, urged the President "to redouble his efforts--and do a better job of explaining to Egyptians what the United States is doing for and with their country and why." LPR would remind Times editorial writers of an Obama quote that appeared in the paper, July 2: "'When I took a position that it was time for Egypt to transition, it was based on the fact that Egypt had not had democratic government for decades, if ever".... The New York Times should inform its readers and explain to Egyptians how President Obama's comment in the July 2 New York Times is consistent with, and constitutes respect for, the principle of national self-determination. Unless, of course, The New York Times now advocatres political imperialism. LPR would add that if President Obama was confident that a Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt would bring lasting democracy to that country, the president, like Rick, in the movie "Casablanca," has been "misinformed.