William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW? – AT 10:01 A.M. ET:  There are so many crises in the Mideast, it's hard to keep track.  Let's see.  Syria is enmeshed in civil war; Egypt in chaos; Libya is increasingly infiltrated by Al Qaeda; Hamas is pledging increased violence against Israel; and everyone feels threatened by Iran.

Other than that, the Obama policies in the region are a smashing success.  Give the man another Nobel Peace Prize. 

So let's feature Egypt, and call it the crisis of the day.  The chaos in Egypt has not subsided, and there are dark hints that the newborn Egyptian democracy may soon be history.  From AP:

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s military warned Saturday of ‘disastrous consequences’ if the crisis that sent tens of thousands of protesters back into the streets is not resolved, signaling the army’s return to an increasingly polarized and violent political scene.

The military said serious dialogue is the “best and only” way to overcome the nation’s deepening conflict over a disputed draft constitution hurriedly adopted by Islamist allies of President Mohammed Morsi, and recent decrees granting himself near-absolute powers.

“Anything other than that (dialogue) will force us into a dark tunnel with disastrous consequences; something which we won’t allow,” the statement said.

Failing to reach a consensus, “is in the interest of neither side. The nation as a whole will pay the price,” it added. The statement was read by an unnamed military official on state television.

Egypt’s once all-powerful military, which temporarily took over governing the country after the revolution that ousted autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak, has largely been sidelined since handing over power to Morsi weeks after his election.

But it has begun asserting itself again, with soldiers sealing off the presidential palace with tanks and barbed wire, as rival protests and street battles between Morsi’s supporters and his opponents turned increasingly violent.

And...

Tensions have escalated since Morsi issued new decrees granting himself and an Islamist-dominated constitutional assembly immunity from oversight by the judiciary. The president’s allies then rushed through a constitution and he announced a Dec. 15 nationwide referendum on the charter.

Morsi has called for a national dialogue and scheduled a meeting on Saturday, but opponents say he must first cancel the referendum on the draft constitution and rescind his recent decrees.

Only veteran liberal opposition politician Ayman Nour attended the meeting with Morsi on Saturday. The other eight delegates were Islamists.

COMMENT:  Some have suggested that Obama show some support for the Egyptian opposition, which, after all, favors a more liberal democracy with guarantees for women and a rejection of religious rule.  Obama has refused, just as he refused to show much support for Iranian freedom fighters during the 2009 Iranian uprising.

The bottom line is that this president feels comfortable with the Muslim Brotherhood and groups like it.  He, and those around him, have little use for true human rights.  There is a loose alliance between the Western left and Islamism, both of whom see the United States as the main problem in international affairs. 

What a mess we are in.  And the official who has presided over our failed foreign policy, Hillary Clinton, is the odds-on favorite to be the Democratic candidate for president in 2016.  Record?  Who cares about her record?  In the value system of the 1960s, she'd be the first woman president, the only thing that matters, which is the way the ruling generation now thinks, and what it is teaching its children. 

December 8, 2012