In June 2005 Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke at the American University of Cairo and pleaded with President Mubarak to allow free elections in Egypt.... Rice’s speech occurred more than five years ago. It was ignored. Authoritarian Middle Eastern governments soldiered on.Of course Rice's plea was ignored. Pleas of this kind that don't come coupled with hints or threats to cut aid -- in this case some of the $1.3 billion annually in mostly military/security aid that the U.S. has been giving the Mubarak government for years -- are easy to ignore (cf. U.S. pleas to Israel over the years to stop settlement activity, etc.). Now one can hardly blame the Bush administration too much for not being especially eager, in June 2005, to pick a fight with Mubarak and his supporters in Congress and elsewhere, since the Bush admin's misguided invasion of Iraq had gone disastrously awry and it needed a fight with a major regional ally like a hole in the head. Still, it is not surprising that Rice's speech had no discernible effect. Talk matters, but there are times when it isn't enough.
Monday, January 31, 2011
When talk wasn't enough
Skimming through this post, I ran across the following: