SEX AND THE SORRIEST POLS
NEW YORK TIMES
Already there’s chatter about whose infidelities are more forgivable: Spitzer’s, which were arguably a crime, or Weiner’s, which were creepier? This misses a crucial point. Both men fell as spectacularly as they did not because they got caught with their pants down but because none of their colleagues liked them much even with their pants up. They didn’t have Clinton’s reservoirs of charm or good will to tap. Spitzer, though an effective attorney general, was shaping up to be a self-righteous, self-defeating disaster of a governor, and Weiner was a sound bite and makeup kit in search of the nearest camera. Few people had a huge stake or interest in propping up either of them, in doing damage control.
IN EGYPT, A VIOLENT STEP BACKWARD
The Western governments that pretend to be on the sidelines are facilitating this chaos. You cannot call yourself neutral while justifying and financing a military coup against an elected president. … The veneer of ambivalence is thin. And it is unconscionable to try to maintain this pretense in the face of escalating violence against peaceful protesters. Egypt is headed back into the dark ages — to the age of Mubarak and his cronies, security forces, military henchmen and corrupt judiciary. An age of a media machine that serves as a propaganda arm for a repressive state. An age of violence, death, torture, detention and daily violations of human dignity. This is not just a military coup. It is a bloody coup.
EGYPT’S DARK FUTURE
What’s happening in Egypt is not a second revolution or a “correction” to the first. It is a coup d’etat that puts the military as firmly in command as it was during the autocratic reign of Hosni Mubarak. So much for the Arab Spring in the region’s most populous country. And, judging by the reaction in Washington and other capitals… [t]he prevailing sentiment about Egypt seems to be that some people just can’t be allowed to govern themselves. … Those who cheer the coup apparently believe that the military shares their values — and their vision of a democratic future. But plenty of historical evidence suggests that the military’s values probably derive from self-interest and that its vision of the future closely resembles the autocratic past. The multitudes of Tahrir Square should try ousting the generals next time. Then we’ll see who’s right.
BLOODSHED IN EGYPT
NEW YORK TIMES
It is hard not to feel some sympathy for President Obama. He was obliged to work with Mr. Morsi, a democratically elected leader, but, in the process, he alienated many Egyptian moderates and secularists. He also worked behind the scenes, albeit unsuccessfully, to find a compromise before the crisis erupted in the streets. Now that it has, he has little choice but to redouble his efforts — and do a better job of explaining to Egyptians what the United States is doing for and with their country and why.
THE SPITZER METHOD
WALL STREET JOURNAL
What should disqualify Mr. Spitzer isn’t merely the prostitution, though he did commit a crime while he was the state’s chief law enforcement officer and could have been prosecuted. And it isn’t merely deceiving the public, though he did make himself vulnerable to blackmail. What ought to be disqualifying is the way he abused the AG’s office to punish people for his own selfish ends.
HOW AMERICA CAN BEST ASSIST EGYPT NOW
This time around, President Obama needs to lead an effort by all of America’s regional allies — from Saudi Arabia to Qatar to Israel — in helping the new Egyptian government to succeed. The White House prided itself during the Morsi reign that America was no longer the issue for Islamists. That turned out to be hubris. America needs to stay engaged with moderate political forces in the Middle East all the time; the region is at the beginning of a long slog to justice and democracy, with many reversals along the way. The United States doesn’t have the luxury of sitting this process out.