Category: Egypt


President Obama Spends Six Days “Mending Fences” in Europe …by Roger Caldwell.

Advertisements

President Obama speaking in Europe

There is a shift taking place in the world economy, and the United States must make friends with those we considered enemies. China, Japan, and India are the richest countries in the world behind America, and we are forced economically to make financial agreements. Many European countries are starting to think that U.S. is more concerned about its relationship with other countries, as opposed to them.

Last week President Obama, his wife Michelle, and his administrative team made a

President Obama with his wife, Michelle

six-day, four-nation tour to Europe. The purpose and focus of the trip was to discuss a broad range of economic and security matters as well as reaffirm our friendship and solidarity with the European countries.

The trip began in Ireland where President Obama has family roots, and was well received with large crowds lining the streets to welcome him. Everywhere he went in small villages or large cities, he was warmly greeted. His message for the Irish was inspirational despite current economic troubles; “we both will weather the storm and come out better.”

The next two days were spent in England, where President Obama made his first official state visit, where there was ceremony, and a special formal dinner. The president was given the opportunity as the first American president to address both the House of Commons and the House of Lords in Westminster Hall with a speech.

President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron of England

During the formal evening dinner, President Obama stated, “Our relationship rest on common language, common history, and common adherence to the rule of law, the rights of men and women, and our relationship never rests.” It was obvious that throughout the president’s visit in England, he emphasized the “special relationship” that the two countries have and they must continue to work together.

In a joint interview in the Times Newspaper in London, President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron said they are committed to working together “on rebuilding our economies.” “We are two different countries but our destination must be the same: strong and stable growth, reduced deficits and reform of our financial systems,” they wrote.

The next stopover during the president’s trip was a visit to France. In France, he was given an opportunity to meet with the Group of Eight nations(G8), which includes the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Japan, Germany, Italy, and Russia.

President Obama at the G8 Summit in France this year

The goal of these nations is to be a catalyst for action, and collaborate economically and militarily. At the conclusion of the G8 Summit, the leaders issued a statement expressing support for the democratic uprising in the Middle East and North Africa. The leaders also asked senior foreign and finance ministries to meet in coming months to forge a framework of unity and continuity. They also are planning to help Egypt and Tunisia to recover stolen assets, and praised economic political development in both countries.

The final stop on the president’s European trip was in Poland. In Poland, President Obama met with Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski, and assured him that the U.S. contacts with Russia will not come at the expense of the security of Poland. Our president is holding Poland’s transformation to democracy as a model for the world.

Strategically, the European trip was extremely important to the United States and the countries that that President met with during the six day trip. There is an economic recession in many of these countries, and there is a need for an international bailout. This trip was the initial discussion of a global plan and more meetings will be necessary to resolve the different global problems.

In order for the United States to be economically successful, we need the European nations. President Obama reassured the European nations that strategically we are strong allies, but because of the global recession, America cannot afford to pay the global bills without more help.

 

Libya on the streets in protest

As President Obama takes a five day trip to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador, there are many major events bombarding the president. There are a series of bloodless revolutions and bloody civil wars that have spread through Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and Libya. In Japan, there is an earthquake and tsunami, with the possibility of 10,000 people dead, and trillions worth of property destroyed.

Everyone has been waiting for decisive action from the president on global issues, and on Saturday, March 19, 2011, President Obama authorized limited military action against Libya. France, Britain, and the United States have warned Gadhafi that they would resort to military measures if he ignores the United Nations resolution demanding a cease-fire. 

Initially Libya agreed to a cease-fire, and promised to stop military operations against its citizens to prevent international military intervention. The United Nations authorized a “no-fly zone” and all necessary measures to prevent the regime from striking and killing its own people. Once this announcement came from the Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa

Moussa Koussa, foreign minister of Libya

 Koussa, it was followed with a fierce attack by Gadhafi’s forces against Misrata, the last rebel-held city in the western half of the country.

Once the coalition forces observed that Gadhafi was not going to abide by the United Nations cease-fire resolution, it was time to take decisive action. The United States is taking part in a five country operation, “Odyssey Dawn”: along with Britain, France, Canada, and Italy. Their goal is to stop the innocent slaughter of the civilians.

U.S. Navy soldiers stand in preparation for efforts towards Libya

The United States has a host of forces and ships in the area, including submarines, destroyers, amphibians’ assault and landing ships. A senior military official said the United States launched air defenses with strikes along the Libyan coast that were launched by Navy vessels in the Mediterranean. The assault would unfold in stages, and Obama once again stated that the United States would not send ground troops to Libya.

America is in a precarious situation in this particular conflict. This country is still one of Africa’s largest oil producing countries on the continent. We know we need oil and President Obama has emphasized that the purpose of this operation is not to get rid of Gaddafi.

In a letter to President Obama, Gaddafi said, “If you found rebels taking over American cities with armed force, tell me what would you do?” There is no simple answer to this question, because all around the world, in Asia and Africa there are civil wars with governments against rebels and grassroots people. Many of these people are deprived of their human rights and dignity, but very little is done because countries have their own national sovereignty.

President Obama addressing Libyan conflict

President Obama has laid out a leadership role for the United States for the Libyan civil war. “In this effort, the United States is prepared to act as part of an international coalition. American leadership is essential, but that does not mean acting alone – it means shaping the conditions for the international community to act together,” says Obama.

It appears that the United States has learned its lessons in going into countries without international support. It makes sense to strategically plan responses to international conflicts, because once you are in, it is hard to get out. Hopefully the Libyan conflict will not be a long protracted war, but a quick conflict where the different factions can reach a compromise.  

President Obama is taking a stand concerning global justice and other tyrants and dictators should take notice. There are basic human rights that all citizens should have protected, and global coalitions can bring this to fruition. It is easy to talk justice and treating everyone with human rights, but it is hard to make it a reality.

Uproar in Egypt

As the drama unfolds in Egypt, it becomes increasingly clear that the United States government will have to make a decision on what side they support. The script is very similar around the world, where certain regimes have been in power for thirty years. There is an unfolding of a grassroots uprising, and democracy and human rights is at the core of the fundamental problem.

In Egypt, there is a call for a Democratic movement and President Obama finds himself in the middle of the conflict. In one breath, the United States is saying we want an immediate change in Egypt with free and fair elections. “Now means now,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said of Egypt’s transition, repeating

 that continued aid to Egypt would be influenced by the government’s responses to the crisis.

On the other hand, Egypt has been an ally to the United States and a close friend to Israel. President Mubarak’s regime has been good for Israel, because it preserved peace on the southern border. Since it was an autocratic regime, it did not have to be responsive to public opinion, and it could take a soft line on Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

As long as Egypt took a soft line on what happened to the Palestinians, the Israeli

President-Barack-Obama with Muburak

 government can maintain its current policies. But if the Egypt government became a responsive democracy, it would have to address public opinion and human rights.

President Obama has denounced the Egyptian government’s acts of “suppression and violence” during the protest, and called for “an orderly transition process right now.” Our president has stopped short of demanding that President Mubarak leave office immediately.

At this point, President Obama is doing a juggling act, because there are concerns that the Muslim Brotherhood is highly organized and they will play a role in the new democratic government. This group is a threat to the stability of Israel and rejects much of the United States’ agenda in the region.

President Mubarak has agreed not to run for office in September, but the hundreds of thousands protestors have indicated that’s not good enough. There have been clashes between the pro-Mubarak supporters and the protesters, and it appears that violence will accelerate. Some experts believe that the pro-Mubarak supporters are gangs that are being paid to create more violence and bloodshed.

Nevertheless, their army will be forced to bring order back to the country eventually, and the Egyptian army will be given a wide scope to detain people. The United States finds itself in a precarious situation, because the world is watching and waiting.

The United States has always been a leader for legitimate democracies around the world. Even though these are the values we project, for thirty years Egypt was not a genuine democratic country. President Obama knows that the decisions that our country makes in Egypt will determine what happens to our country in the rest of the region.

As the drama plays out, eventually there will be fair and impartial elections. The Muslim Brotherhood will play a vital role in the transition of power. Political Islam is a reality of doing business and politics in this region of the world and America can not discriminate against the Muslim Brotherhood.

If President Obama and the United States believe in transparency and inclusion in Egypt, the will and human rights of the people must be protected. With hundreds of thousands protesters demonstrating against the government, there is something fundamentally wrong with the present administration.

The United States is in a difficult position, but it should side with the will of the people. The values of democracy, freedom, and transparency are what we hold dear as the cornerstone of country. If we believe in these values, we should want the same in Egypt.