"People who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes." ~ Abigail Van Buren

I always keep an eye on what’s happening in Egypt, because I’ve had a love affair with the country and wonderful experiences there both for work and for pure pleasure. With the advent of the Arab Spring I kept thinking, “Shouldn’t we do something about Egypt?” but soon it felt as though the Arab Spring was changing seasons while everyone was distracted. Then one Sunday John McCain appeared on one of the morning talkfests. It had become a rarity for him to catch my attention since he seemed too often to join in the Republican sport of taking pot shots at President Obama for winning the Presidency in 2008. He became a follower of Mitch McConnell’s edict never to pass anything the elected leader of the free world suggested. But on this particular Sunday, I saw a spark of the “maverick” who had once caught my imagination. That John McCain had become a dim memory, but in this instance I found myself in agreement with what he wanted: for the President to cut off aid to post-Mubarak Egypt while the country was exploding in violence and chaos. But then he teamed up with snarky Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who blasts the president at any opportunity, including railing against Obama’s Egypt policy.

So Obama played a very smart card, and sent the pair of complainers to the region to get the conflicted parties talking to one another. But they didn’t seem to limit their mission to that. They just can’t help themselves—they couldn’t resist telling the Egyptians what they needed to do to form a “real” democracy, just like ours. The last thing you want to do is tell people who live in Egypt, grew up in Egypt, and expect to spend the rest of their lives there what their democracy should look like. Egypt does not look like us, nor should it, nor do Egyptians particularly like us. To insure they’d never change their minds, McCain got upset when they didn’t call their uprisings a coup, thus showing he’s somebody who would rather be right than win. He actually said, “I’m not here to go through the dictionary. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.” Lines like that are one of the reasons why most of the world think our foreign policy is either outright dangerous or a joke.

Would that McCain had left it at that. But no; on August 16th the utterance went like this: “The massacre of civilians this week in Egypt has brought our longstanding relationship with that country to a fork in the road. The interim civilian government and security forces, backed up, unfortunately by the military, are taking Egypt down a dark path, one that the United States cannot and should not travel with them.” And so, just when one of our few and most important allies in the Middle East could have used our support (and that of their neighbors), at a time when our support would have showed the world that we stand by our allies in the Middle East, the Republicans, who for some reason President Obama trusted to represent him, began to establish the modus they carried into Syria.  

Some Things to Think About and Do:
  1. Check in with how important Egypt is to the state of our union
  2. If you don’t have much information, spend some time online to learn more
  3. Please be in touch with the offices of McCain: www.mccain.senate.gov and Graham: www.graham.senate.gov and tell them what you want them to do with regard to Egypt
  4. The same goes for the President: www.whitehouse.gov/contact

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