Tonawanda News

Opinion

August 21, 2013

DUVALL: Where only the strongmen survive

Tonawanda News — As has happened many times before, America’s best fictional president offered some prescient advice, now more than a decade ago, that speaks to problems we face.

Josiah Bartlet, the fictional president of television’s “The West Wing” was opining strife in the Middle East when he dismissed an adviser’s overwrought explanation of whatever the situation was.

The reason for all the violence in that part of the world isn’t religious or political in nature. It, Bartlet noted dryly, is because there’s no water and it’s extremely hot.

That thought passed through my mind several times reading about the strife in Egypt and what, if anything, America or the rest of the world can do to stop it.

President Obama has dithered and ducked the problem. He backed Hosni Mubarak until the forces on the street made it impossible. He backed Mohammad Morsi, the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood conservative, until the forces in the street made it impossible. He is backing the mostly American-trained Egyptian military, which ousted Morsi in a coup the United States can’t even call a coup — that is, until the blood in the streets will make it impossible to do even that.

This is not leadership. But what are the alternatives? After so badly overplaying our hand in the Arab world in Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States has nothing but cash to offer in exchange for compliance with whatever the hell outcome we could conceive that benefits us and Israel. 

And money, even billions of dollars of it, can’t buy democracy.

But American treasure spent propping up Egypt’s military isn’t so simply withheld, either. We give them the money as part of the historic Camp David Accord, the peace deal that’s prevented Egypt and Israel from taking up arms since 1979. A strong Egyptian army, paid for by the United States, was a prerequisite for any such deal for the Egyptians. 

Text Only
Opinion
  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On lines blurred, crossed and nonexistent It strikes me more and more how blurry the lines have gotten in all facets of our world, large and small.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • OUR VIEW: Arson suspect never deserved bail Two of the 11 fires reported on Fifth Avenue could have been prevented with some jurisprudence in evaluating whether the suspect, Michelle Johnston, deserved to be offered bail. Given the obvious nature of a repeat offender who was charged with nine felony arson counts, bail never should have been offered in this case.

    July 25, 2014

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014