I know everyone is spending every free minute watching al-Jazeera coverage of the protests in Egypt, but I thought it might be helpful to take a step back from this for a moment for a decidedly more unpleasant look at the movement: through the eyes of American reactionaries. Here’s a small survey of their thoughts on the situation.
Pam Geller, white supremacist cheerleader, applauds Mubarak’s repression of the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the leading forces for democratic reform in the country.
Some schmuck at RedState fulminates over Obama’s failure of masculinity in not preventing “another Iran.” Reactionaries have but one story to tell when it comes to these sorts of things. Truman lost China, Carter lost Iran, Obama lost Egypt. Islam is twenty-first century communism (or is it the other way around?)
The Weekly Standard has the most serious piece I’ve seen so far. The author, Lee Smith, notes that Mubarak’s regime is much more stable than Ben Ali’s. However, there are also notable signs of anxiety throughout, combined with imperial condescension. We are told that the protests are really directed against Jamal Mubarak, not his father Hosni (a quick look at the slogans being chanted indicates otherwise). There’s also a number of reminders that Arabs will revolt for any old reason, so we shouldn’t be too concerned. Finally, there’s a reminder that democracy in the Mideast hasn’t worked out so well for the US, with the elections in Palestine proffered as example.
Fox News brings out the dominoes, and underlines that ‘our’ interest is ‘the free flow of oil in the entire region.’
Smadar Peri, a columnist for the Israeli tabloid Yediot Ahronot, is unimpressed with the democracy movement in Egypt, noting with approval that the ‘security apparatuses, and there are at least four of those responsible for the regime’s stability and domestic peace, possess plenty of experience in crushing protests.’
Peter Wehner from Commentary sees this as a vindication of Bush’s “Freedom Agenda.” Given that Bush (and Obama) have been the main people funding Egypt’s security state that is now cracking skulls, I’m not sure how this one is supposed to work. What’s really interesting about this contention is the symmetry it engenders. Insofar as there are elements of the American right that support the revolt to some extent (and there certainly are), they attribute it to some speeches Bush made several years ago. Bourgeois liberals, on the other hand, tend to look to Obama’s Cairo speech. In both cases, there’s an inescapable national narcissism, which holds that people in other countries don’t fight for self-determination until American presidents tell them to.
Somewhat surprisingly, Michelle Malkin is unreservedly supportive of the movement.
Finally, the American Power Blog (which sounds like something started by one of the nerdier GI Joes) offers an ambivalent reading, concluding that Mubarak’s tenure is of little consequence for the grand course of the war on terror.