Commentary Magazine


Snubbing Hillary Clinton

According to ABC News, a coalition of six youth groups that emerged from Egypt’s revolution last month has refused to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who arrived in Cairo yesterday, in protest of the United States’s strong support for former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted by the uprising.

“There was an invitation for members of the coalition to meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton but based on her negative position from the beginning of the revolution and the position of the US administration in the Middle East, we reject this invitation,” the January 25 Revolution Youth Coalition said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

As the liberation uprising gained strength, both Secretary Clinton and President Obama were (correctly) perceived as slow to recognize the strength of the protest movement. In a separate statement provided to an Egyptian newspaper, the youth group said that “the US administration took Egypt’s revolution lightly and supported the old regime while Egyptian blood was being spilled.”

That is true enough. But compared with their passive and ambivalent stand in support of Libya’s liberation, Clinton and Obama were, on Egypt, pillars of strength.

The effort to win the hearts and minds of a new generation of Arabs seems to have run aground. It turns out that turning our backs on those seeking to replace dictatorships with liberal, democratic movements has consequences. Who knew?