Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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Vacancy in Cairo

by Elliott Abrams
April 22, 2014

As a former official of the George W. Bush administration, I’ve always been amazed and amused by the foolish trope that that administration believed in military power and bullying, as contrasted with the Obama administration’s belief in diplomacy.

For an administration that claims to believe in diplomacy, this one has left a lot of vacancies for a very long time. Case in point: despite the extremely complex developments in Egypt, it is eight months since we had an ambassador in Cairo. This can’t be blamed on senatorial dilly-dallying, nor on obstructive Republicans: no one has been nominated. The previous incumbent, Anne Patterson, is now Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, so the administration had plenty of warning about her departure; after all, it picked her.

What’s the excuse? It doesn’t matter, because excuses are always available or can be manufactured. The fact is that during this period of change in Egypt, the post is vacant–depriving Washington of eyes and ears that are supposed to be vital. If you really believe in diplomacy, that is. If not fine–but let’s hear no more speeches about how this administration believes in engagement and diplomacy. Vacancies don’t engage.

Post a Comment 7 Comments

  • Posted by AMT

    ,000 results (0.51 seconds)

    ,000 results (0.51 seconds)

    I believe that Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will surprise all of us! He kinow exactly what he want. I prefer to wait before giving my opinion.

  • Posted by Dean Smallwood

    Obama’s foreign policy ( and I use the term in its loosest sense ) is a failure one “pivot” at a time . If he doesn’t think about Egypt then Egypt doesn’t exist .

  • Posted by Jassem Othman

    The administration of President George W. Bush was a great administration. In reality, the American extern wars didn’t begin with a Republicans, rather with a Democrats, but unfortunately President Obama’s admin is remain the administration of failure and the utter impotence. The fact that the willingness of the US to project power has helped prevent wars, while the reluctance of the US to project power has often caused wars, so the evil rogue states should be afraid of American Military Power!

  • Posted by Jassem Othman

    The administration of President George W. Bush was a great administration. In reality, the American extern wars didn’t begin with a Republicans, rather with a Democrats, but unfortunately President Obama’s admin is remain the administration of weakness and surrender. The fact that the willingness of the US to project power has helped prevent wars, while the reluctance of the US to project power has often caused wars, so the evil rogue states should be afraid of American Military Power!

  • Posted by ah

    Jassem,

    Define “great administration”. I would argue that getting a country into 3 wars – Afghanistan, Iraq, and “War on Terror” – none of which were actually won, does not qualify as a “great administration.’

    Nor does giving parts of Georgia to Russia, torture, extraordinary rendition, civil rights abuses, massive expansions of invasions of privacy… and the list goes on.

    I think the only successes of the Bush Administration were expanding free trade and its HIV programs in Africa.

  • Posted by Jassem Othman

    ah, as you know that the name of Machiavelli was a synonym for the devil. Machiavelli was reviled throughout Europe during the 16th century, but later, in modern times, he was considered to be unique and a Great in the history of the West due to his great actions that were despised at the time. Ah, life is indeed unfair!

  • Posted by DB

    ah, Clinton got america in to War on Terror and Afghanistan by doing nothing for 8 years and luckily leaving office a few months before 9/11 and the crash of the US economy. In the same way, Obama will get the next administration into multiple fights all over the world, probably with a nuclear Iran and a nuclear North Korea.

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