Secretary of State Colin Powell used to talk about the Pottery Barn Rule: If you break something, such as a foreign government, you’ve bought it. Unfortunately, the U.S. has a long history of intervening and leaving chaos behind. This is what I call the Blowback Rule of unintended consequences.
As President Trump continues to reach out to the world's despots — praising the "fantastic job" done by Egyptian strongman Abdel Fattah el-Sisi; saying he would be "honored" to meet with North Korea's Kim Jong Un; inviting death squad promoter and Philippines' president Rodrigo Duterte to the White House; congratulating Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on maintaining rule; and nurturing a bromance with Russia's Vladimir Putin — he would do well to keep in mind their perennial
Every year I begin with more questions than answers. When is President Obama supposed to come and take all the guns away? Are we a socialist Muslim country yet? How come we never saw that Michelle Obama "whitey" tape that was alleged to exist before the 2008 and 2012 elections? What happened to all those FEMA concentration camps we were told about? If they really did exist, why didn't Obama put Ted Nugent in one first?
My column last week on Sheriff DeWees' open letter to President Obama about his lack of respect for police officers was a real learning experience for me. I expected an avalanche of hate emails, but instead received almost overwhelming support for my views. Many people thanked me for speaking for them and setting the record straight.
The U.S. will never persuade General el-Sissi to embrace democracy or end the endemic corruption that enriches Egyptian generals. But we can use the leverage our huge aid payments provide to protect some space for independent voices.
As expected, former Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi won the latest Egyptian election for president by a landslide, giving the military establishment total control of all governmental instruments of power. He won 92 percent of the votes with 46 percent turnout. President-elect el-Sissi now has an historic chance to usher in a new democratic Egypt. Unfortunately, the last 10 months of his rule have indicated a far different future for his struggling country.
As the world's most powerful democracy and a large aid donor, the United States was uniquely positioned to support the Egyptian people's quest for freedom and a better future. Instead, our response has been remarkably short-sighted and always a step behind.
In the early days of the new year, it might be good to take a moment to recognize that however disappointing Obama's policies may be, it could have been a lot worse if any of Obama's key opponents — Republican or Democrat — were sitting in the White House today.