Mark Shields: 'The Most Urgent Priority America Has Is To Find Jobs For Young Egyptians'

Out of the mouths of babes...

On Friday's "Inside Washington," during a discussion about American foreign policy in the Middle East and Africa, PBS's Mark Shields actually said, "The most urgent priority that we have is to find jobs somehow, not simply for Americans, which is an urgent priority, but for young Egyptians" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: The administration's policy on Syria is incomprehensible. Sometimes you have to choose between a strategic ally, like say Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and human rights, you know, and you decide, ok, I’ll give up on rights because I have to protect the strategic ally. But Syria is an enemy, an ally of Iran. It funneled fighters into Iraq who killed Americans. Here is a regime teetering at the edge. There is a genuine revolution, and we are doing and saying almost nothing. It is a scandal.

GORDON PETERSON, HOST: Hasn't the state department been pushing for engagement with the Syrian government so that they can weaken its allegiance to Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran?

KRAUTHAMMER: And for the same reason that Obama spoke so weakly about the revolution in Iran in 2009, because he had a fantasy of negotiating with the Mullahs over the nukes, which was of course a fantasy, and thus he did nothing. Here they’ve had this (?) of negotiating Assad out of his alliance with Iran and Hezbollah, which Americans have dreamed about for 30 years. It is a fantasy. And in the name of that he sent an ambassador into Syria. Still there. He has to be withdrawn tomorrow as at least the beginning of a statement of opposition to the regime.

NINA TOTENBERG, NPR: Charles didn't note that part of Mrs. Clinton’s statement, which I think was at the opening of the show, actually did denounce what was going on in Syria. But, you know, Secretaries of State always do these sort of little formal dances that don’t mean a lot. What I think probably the any administration would realize that there is a limit to what we can do about Syria. You don’t want to get so far out there that you are involved in something that you can’t do something about.

PETERSON: Well, we're involved in Libya, we’re sending drones in now.

TOTENBERG: There, we have some capacity. Some of us on this panel didn’t think it was a great idea to get involved there either, but, but at least we have some capacity. In Syria we don’t have much of a capacity…

KRAUTHAMMER: Why’s our ambassador still in Damascus?

PETERSON: Let me hear from Mark.

MARK SHIELDS, PBS: I am envious. I wish I was as sure of anything as Charles is of everything. And I would say that the most important…

KRAUTHAMMER: Well that is why I sleep so well and I look so young.

SHIELDS: Obviously is. The most urgent priority that we have is to find jobs somehow, not simply for Americans, which is an urgent priority, but for young Egyptians. That is going to determine whether, in fact, this revolution is going to take root and take a positive development.

We have an 8.8 percent unemployment rate - far higher if you count folks that have dropped out of the labor force due to their discouragement as well as those working part-time that wish they could find more hours. We have now set a new post-Depression record for the number of months this rate has been eight percent or higher.

The current administration has shown itself completely inept when it comes to job creation within our own shores, and this liberal media member thinks it's an urgent priority for us to find jobs for young people thousands of miles away in a foreign land.

Would you say Mr. Shields is a bit unplugged from reality?

Syria Middle East Iraq Iran Libya Africa Afghanistan Foreign Policy Unemployment NPR Radio Inside Washington PBS Mark Shields Gordon Peterson Charles Krauthammer
Noel Sheppard's picture