Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Joe Buck Disgusting Act of the Week: Richard Cohen

This column from Richard Cohen oozes stupid:
Things are about to go from bad to worse in the Middle East. An Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is nowhere in sight. Lebanon just became a Hezbollah state, which is to say that Iran has become an even more important regional power, and Egypt, once stable if tenuously so, has been pitched into chaos. This is the most dire prospect of them all. The dream of a democratic Egypt is sure to produce a nightmare.
Take a minute to absorb what he just said. He is decrying that once "stable" Egypt has been thrown into chaos. He thinks this is sure to produce a nightmare, because...
Egypt's problems are immense. It has a population it cannot support, a standard of living that is stagnant and a self-image as leader of the (Sunni) Arab world that does not, really, correspond to reality. It also lacks the civic and political institutions that are necessary for democracy. The next Egyptian government - or the one after - might well be composed of Islamists. In that case, the peace with Israel will be abrogated and the mob currently in the streets will roar its approval.
1. Richard Cohen knows what's best for Egypt more so that the Egyptian people themselves.

2. They lack the tools for a democracy... once again, because Richard Cohen thinks they do.

3. A democratically elected government might not be friendly with Israel. This is because Egypt is populated by bloodthirsty savages who of are irrationally not fond Israel, a clearly stupid and wrong position that would only be taken by morons with no capacity for reason.

It gets even worse:
My take on all this is relentlessly gloomy. I care about Israel. I care about Egypt, too, but its survival is hardly at stake.
Prediction: If you're talking about the two countries that receive more US military aid than anyone else in the world, it's a decent bet that no country's "survival" is at stake.

And what is he implying will happen? That Egypt will start bulldozing houses in land that isn't theirs and installing in their own settlements? Who would let a country get away with doing that???
I care about democratic values, but they are worse than useless in societies that have no tradition of tolerance or respect for minority rights. What we want for Egypt is what we have ourselves. This, though, is an identity crisis. We are not them.
"societies that have no tradition of tolerance or respect for minority rights"

He actually fucking said that.

You know, good democracies like like the United States, France, England, Germany, Israel. All countries with great records of tolerance and respect for minority rights throughout their history.

Let's skip a few paragraphs where Cohen talks about the Muslim brotherhood as the new Al QeadaNaziCommunists and see how he ends this masterpiece:
Majority rule is a worthwhile idea. But so, too, are respect for minorities, freedom of religion, the equality of women and adherence to treaties, such as the one with Israel, the only democracy in the region.
Wait. Is he suggesting that a democratically elected government might not like the treaties that their undemocratically elected dictator signed? STUNNING.

"Respect for minorities". "Israel". Sorry, every time I read those words in the same sentence my mind goes blank and I wake up two hours later on the floor in the fetal position. Anyone else having that problem?
Those Americans and others who cheer the mobs in the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities, who clamor for more robust anti-Mubarak statements from the Obama administration, would be wise to let Washington proceed slowly. Hosni Mubarak is history. He has stayed too long, been too recalcitrant - and, for good reason, let his fear of the future ossify the present. Egypt and the entire Middle East are on the verge of convulsing. America needs to be on the right side of human rights. 
Strong statement, and a great way to end... wait there's more? Fuck.
But it also needs to be on the right side of history. This time, the two may not be the same.
And that sums up the column so much better than I could.

Just for fun, try to name the times that being on the side of "human rights" was not on the right side of history.


But like many pundits and politicians, Richard Cohen views "democracy" as a form of government conducted by white non-Muslims, whose foreign policy is aligned directly with whatever the United States or Israel wants to do.

When an event happens that questions their worldview (see hamas' 2009 election), smoke starts coming out of their ears and they say things about how this particular group of people "isn't ready" for democracy because they didn't like the outcome. This case is even more absurd because Cohen just *knows* that a democracy in Egypt won't work out.

Guess what Richard? The beauty of this democracy thing is that it isn't our call.

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