creators.com opinion web
Conservative Opinion General Opinion
Joe Conason
Joe Conason
20 Nov 2014
Fix Decaying Pipelines First for Jobs, Health and Safety

With the Keystone XL pipeline stalled again, now perhaps we can look ahead and consider more promising ways … Read More.

15 Nov 2014
Immigration, Impeachment and Insanity on the Republican Right

Obstructing, denouncing and demonizing Barack Obama are so central to the existence of the Republican Party … Read More.

7 Nov 2014
Beneath the Republican Wave, Voters Still Reject Right-Wing Ideology

In the wake of the 2014 midterm "wave election," Americans will soon find out whether they actually want what … Read More.

ElBaradei a Bad Guy? Don't Listen to the American Right

Comment

To his fellow Egyptians and to most observers across the world, Mohamed ElBaradei looks like a hero — an international diplomat who might well have lived out his days in the comforts of Geneva and New York, but returned home to provide leadership despite serious personal peril. But to leading figures on the American right, ElBaradei is a figure to be mocked, scorned and dismissed as a stooge of darker forces in Egyptian politics and the Mideast.

Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his years of stewardship of the International Atomic Energy Agency, he is suddenly the target of insults and attacks from Republicans who deem themselves expert on the politics of the Middle East. Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton calls ElBaradei a "dilettante," and former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer goes further, calling him "a bad guy."

The opinions of these veterans of the Bush White House, perhaps the least successful government in American history since the Herbert Hoover years, are not worth much — except as a reminder of the continuing ill wind blowing from that defunct administration and its policies. Their hostility to ElBaradei and to the mass civic movement in Egypt reveals the hollowness and uselessness of the neoconservative worldview at a moment of intense crisis for American diplomacy.

To everyone else, it is obvious that Hosni Mubarak cannot abide much longer as president of Egypt, despite the billions in aid that we have lavished on him these past three decades. And to everyone else, it is also obvious that whenever he goes, the most promising alternative is ElBaradei, a secular liberal with strong ties to the West.

But to the neoconservatives, the possibility that ElBaradei might help preserve his country's 80 million souls from bloody chaos matters much less than the fact that he disagreed with them about the invasion of Iraq and that he still disagrees with them about a pre-emptive strike against Iran.

He committed the unforgivable sin of being right when they were wrong about Iraq's mythical nuclear weapons program, and he has insisted on pursuing a peaceful resolution of Iran's atomic ambitions as well.

With their peculiar belief that what we always need is more armed conflict in the Mideast, the neoconservatives despise ElBaradei — although Americans would have saved thousands of lives and trillions of dollars if only we had listened to his truth rather than their lies.

Among those lies, of course, was the notion that "regime change" in Baghdad would spark a democratic renaissance across the Mideast beneficial to America and Israel as well as the people of the region. That didn't happen, but today a burgeoning movement of youth demanding democracy and human rights has appeared — and the neoconservatives now warn us to fear and reject them.

Let us hope that the Obama administration is sufficiently sensible to ignore such awful advice. Balancing our national security interests against the complexities of places like Egypt and Jordan, with strong Islamic political movements, will be difficult to say the least. But there is no point in nostalgia for the friendly dictators of the past and the arrangements we once made with them. Hysteria over the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood should be assuaged by the example of Turkey, where the ruling Islamist party is seeking even now to restore ties with Israel and join the European Union.

Neglect, arrogance and cynicism have left us with little knowledge and few relationships that will be useful as we cope with momentous changes in the Mideast. If we face that fact, then the last thing we should do is undermine those, like ElBaradei, who might help us negotiate this challenging course.

Joe Conason writes for the New York Observer (www.observer.com). To find out more about Joe Conason, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2011 CREATORS.COM



Comments

2 Comments | Post Comment
It's truly unfortunate that you have an author that is clearly more interested in maintaining his left leaning opinions rather than looking out for the welfare of America. I have been reading this guy for a few weeks now and I am appalled at his lack of knowledge. He is as dangerous as an author can be. My advice? Get rid of him.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Ed
Thu Feb 3, 2011 11:34 AM
It's truly unfortunate that you have an author that is clearly uninformed and more interested in forwarding his liberal ideas than actually looking out for the best interests of America. I have been reading this guy's articles for a few weeks now and I am appalled at his utter lack of knowledge and wild claims. My advice? Get rid of him.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Ed
Thu Feb 3, 2011 11:36 AM
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
Joe Conason
Nov. `14
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
26 27 28 29 30 31 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 1 2 3 4 5 6
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Froma Harrop
Froma HarropUpdated 25 Nov 2014
Marc Dion
Marc DionUpdated 24 Nov 2014
Mark Shields
Mark ShieldsUpdated 22 Nov 2014

25 Dec 2008 What Nixon Admitted (and Cheney Won't)

8 Jan 2009 Timing Is Wrong for Phony Thrift

2 Aug 2012 ‘Kiss My Ass': Fear and Loathing in the Romney Campaign