Tuesday, February 15, 2011

THE OPPOSITE OF EXPECTATIONS

Get ready for two unexpected reversals.

First, the Boston Globe reported recently that President Bush laid the groundwork for the Egyptian revolution through his pro-democracy efforts in the middle east. Farah Stockman writes:
A small, controversial effort launched under President George W. Bush to fund and train election monitors in Egypt played a key role in the movement to topple President Hosni Mubarak’s regime.

The program, which provided millions in direct funding to prodemocracy groups, helped dispatch 13,000 volunteers to observe Egypt’s parliamentary elections in December. Thousands of those monitors, angered by what they said was blatant election rigging, joined the protests. Some became outspoken leaders; others used the networking and communication skills they learned to help coordinate 18 days of rallies.
...
When Obama took office, his administration halved the amount of money available for democracy funding in Egypt, to $20 million in 2008, and allowed Egypt to have a veto again over some funds.
So Bush set up a plan to help democracy spread and corruption be fought in Egypt, and Obama cut it and gave the very government being examined for corruption veto power over some of the funding. Small wonder Egyptians aren't exactly enthused about President Obama, especially with his Envoy praising Mubarak and his Intelligence chief claiming the Muslim brotherhood was non violent and secular.

Now for the second reversal:

President Bush, where in the constitution does it authorize you or congress to spend money paying to help another nation's elections be more trustworthy? I agree its a nice thing to do and I too want liberty encouraged while corruption is stomped on, but that is not your place and not your money to spend. President Obama is continuing some of the programs, but at least he cut some.

I have a problem with both presidents, both for violating the constitution, and Obama in particular for seeming to want to help dictators and thugs around the world.

5 comments:

Philip said...

"President Bush, where in the constitution does it authorize you or congress to spend money paying to help another nation's elections be more trustworthy?"

Agreed, it's not in the Constitution. But neither was authority for the Louisiana Purchase. Maybe we should demand France take the land back and refund the money?

Simulacre said...


Boston Globe reported recently that President Bush laid the groundwork for the Egyptian revolution through his pro-democracy efforts in the middle east.


I can't believe they reported it before I (A GWB foreign policy supporter) was willing voice that opinion...

Christopher Taylor said...

Agreed, it's not in the Constitution. But neither was authority for the Louisiana Purchase. Maybe we should demand France take the land back and refund the money?

The government buying land is a reasonable use of power and actually is legal and constitutional. The government sending bucks over to another country to help them have nicer elections is not.

Philip said...

Actually, there was opposition at the time from both Federalists and Jeffersonians on the grounds that the purchase was potentially unconstitutional. It barely survived a vote in the House of Representatives.

The purchase was essentially illegal. Napoleon didn't have the authority to sell it. In addition France, in the 1800 Treaty of San Ildefonso, promised Spain not to sell or 'alienate' the territory.

Above all, if one looks at it from a strict constitutional standpoint, there are no any provisions for acquiring territory.

As for "nicer elections", one could place that in the same gray area as elements of the Cold War were waged.

Christopher Taylor said...

Actually the constitution permits the federal government to negotiate treaties, which would include land acquisitions from a foreign country. France technically owned the area, having obtained it from Spain, but Napoleon knew that he couldn't hold it. Jefferson negotiatied a purchase of the land but he only expected to get New Orleans; when Napoleon offered the whole area he was delighted.

Ambrose wrote a terrific book about the Lewis & Clark expedition that has a lot of interesting information on the purchase.