On Mubarak, counter-terrorism, and the Gipper

Cheney shakes Mubarak's hand
13 May 2007

Our Dick was the keynote speaker at the ‘Reagan 100’ event this past Saturday, where he commented on the protests in Egypt and the Obama administration in an interview-style discussion lead by Frank Donatelli.

When asked about Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Dick recollected how Mubarak was among the first to support the American coalition aiming to liberate Kuwait from Iraq in the Gulf War, offering over-flight rights and providing troops.

“So he’s been a good man and a good friend and ally of the United States, and we need to remember that.”

Cheney said that America’s role now is to continue private communication with Mubarak, presuming that he’ll be as receptive now as he’s been over the past three decades.

“It’s also important when you get into these circumstances, that you try to have an open channel of communications that is private to whoever it is you’re dealing with out there. It is very hard for some foreign leader to act on US advise in a visible way,” suggesting that leaders run the risk of appearing like American puppets to their people. “There’s a reason why a lot of diplomacy is conducted in secret. There are good reasons for there to be confidentiality in some of those communications. And I think President Mubarak needs to be treated, um, as he deserved over the years, because he has been a good friend.”

Cheney was then asked his opinion on whether or not Mubarak’s regime would survive the uprising. Like most American politicians, our Dick was uncertain.
“I don’t want to make a prediction, because I don’t know. But I also think that, you know, there comes a time for everybody to hang it up and move on, and for someone else to take over. … But as I say that’s a decision that only the Egyptians can make.”

Interestingly, Cheney was nearly as light-handed when discussing the Obama administration: he praised the Petraeus appointment and failed to raise any concerns over Obama’s counter-terrorism policies.

“The good news is, I sense, that they’ve backed off on some of their more outrageous propositions,” he said. “I notice Guantanamo’s still open.”

He spent the next few minutes defending the legality of the Bush administration’s approach towards terrorists. Of course, Dick also had a few words to say on the man of honor:

“We associate idealism with youth, but the oldest man ever elected president was also the most idealistic. And he brought out that quality in the American people. He inspired the kind of affection that even great men cannot claim by right, but goes only to the truly good. Kindness, simplicity, and decency marked his entire life… Long before he first journeyed here to California and long after he returned here from Washington. In remembering his final years, we might also add courage for the gallant manful way in which he left us.”

I’m sure Dick is aspiring to demonstrate the same sort of gallantry in the coming years.

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