Who Lost Egypt?

Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit carolineglick.com


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Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

In 1949, the Communist takeover of China rattled the US foreign policy establishment to its core. China’s fall to Communism was correctly perceived as a massive strategic defeat for the US. The triumphant Mao Zedong placed China firmly in the Soviet camp and implemented foreign policies antithetical to US interests.

For the American foreign policy establishment, China’s fall forced a reconsideration of basic axioms of US foreign policy. Until China went Red, the view resonant among foreign policy specialists was that it was possible for the US to peacefully coexist and even be strategic allies with Communists.

With Mao’s embrace of Stalin this position was discredited. The US’s subsequent recognition that it was impossible for America to reach an accommodation with Communists served as the intellectual architecture of many of the strategies the US adopted for fighting the Cold War in the years that followed.

Today the main aspect of America’s response to China’s Communist revolution that is remembered is the vindictive political hunt for scapegoats. Foreign Service officers and journalists who had advised the US government to support Mao and the Communists against Chiang Kai Shek and the Nationalists were attacked as traitors.

But while the “Red Scare” is what is most remembered about that period, the most significant consequence of the rise of Communist China was the impact it had on the US’s understanding of the nature of Communist forces. Even Theodore White, perhaps the most prominent journalist who championed Mao and the Communists, later acknowledged that he had been duped by their propaganda machine into believing that Mao and his comrades were interested in an alliance with the US.

As Joyce Hoffmann exposed in her book Theodore White and Journalism as Illusion, White acknowledged that his wartime report from Mao’s headquarters in Yenan praising the Communists as willing allies of the US who sought friendship, “not as a beggar seeks charity, but seeks aid in furthering a joint cause,” was completely false.

As he wrote, the report was “winged with hope and passion that were entirely unreal.”

What he had been shown in Yenan, Hoffmann quotes White as having written, was “the showcase of democratic art pieces they (the Communists) staged for us American correspondents [and] was literally, only showcase stuff.”

Contrast the US’s acceptance of failure in China in 1949, and its willingness to learn the lessons of its loss of China, with the US’s denial of its failure and loss of Egypt today.

Last week, new President Mohamed Morsy completed Egypt’s transformation into an Islamist state. In the space of one week, Morsy sacked the commanders of the Egyptian military and replaced them with Muslim Brotherhood loyalists, and fired all the editors of the state-owned media and replaced them with Muslim Brotherhood loyalists.

He also implemented a policy of intimidation, censorship and closure of independently owned media organizations that dare to publish criticism of him.

Morsy revoked the military’s constitutional role in setting the foreign and military policies of Egypt. But he maintained the junta’s court-backed decision to disband the parliament. In so doing, Morsy gave himself full control over the writing of Egypt’s new constitution.

As former ambassador to Egypt Zvi Mazel wrote Tuesday in The Jerusalem Post, Morsy’s moves mean that he “now holds dictatorial powers surpassing by far those of erstwhile president Hosni Mubarak.”

In other words, Morsy’s actions have transformed Egypt from a military dictatorship into an Islamist dictatorship.

The impact on Egypt’s foreign policy of Morsy’s seizure of power is already becoming clear. On Monday, Al-Masri al-Youm quoted Mohamed Gadallah, Morsy’s legal adviser, saying that Morsy is considering revising the peace accord with Israel. Gadallah explained that Morsy intends to “ensure Egypt’s full sovereignty and control over every inch of Sinai.”

In other words, Morsy intends to remilitarize Sinai and so render the Egyptian military a clear and present threat to Israel’s security. Indeed, according to Haaretz, Egypt has already breached the peace accord and deployed forces and heavy weaponry to Sinai without Israeli permission.

The rapidity of Morsy’s moves has surprised most observers. But more surprising than his moves is the US response to his moves.

Obama administration officials have behaved as though nothing has happened, or even as though Morsy’s moves are positive developments.

For instance, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, one administration official dismissed the significance of Morsy’s purge of the military brass, saying, “What I think this is, frankly, is Morsy looking for a generational change in military leadership.”

The Journal reported that Egypt’s new defense minister, Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sissi, is known as a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer. But the Obama administration quickly dismissed the reports as mere rumors with no significance. Sissi, administration sources told the Journal, ate dinner with US President Barack Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser John Brennan during Brennan’s visit to Cairo last October. Aside from that, they say, people are always claiming that Morsy’s appointments have ties to Morsy’s Muslim Brotherhood.

A slightly less rose-colored assessment came from Steven Cook in Foreign Affairs. According to Cook, at worst, Morsy’s move was probably nothing more than a present-day reenactment of Gamal Abel Nasser’s decision to move Egypt away from the West and into the Soviet camp in 1954.

Most likely, Cook argued, Morsy was simply doing what Sadat did when in 1971 he fired other generals with whom he had been forced to share power when he first succeeded Nasser in 1969.

Certainly the Nasser and Sadat analogies are pertinent. But while properly citing them, Cook failed to explain what those analogies tell us about the significance of Morsy’s actions. He drew the dots but failed to see the shape they make.

Morsy’s Islamism, like Mao’s Communism, is inherently hostile to the US and its allies and interests in the Middle East. Consequently, Morsy’s strategic repositioning of Egypt as an Islamist country means that Egypt – which has served as the anchor of the US alliance system in the Arab world for 30 years – is setting aside its alliance with the US and looking toward reassuming the role of regional bully.

Egypt is on the fast track to reinstating its war against Israel and threatening international shipping in the Suez Canal. And as an Islamist state, Egypt will certainly seek to export its Islamic revolution to other countries. No doubt fear of this prospect is what prompted Saudi Arabia to begin showering Egypt with billions of dollars in aid.

It should be recalled that the Saudis so feared the rise of a Muslim Brotherhood-ruled Egypt that in February 2011, when US President Barack Obama was publicly ordering then-president Hosni Mubarak to abdicate power immediately, Saudi leaders were beseeching him to defy Obama. They promised Mubarak unlimited financial support for Egypt if he agreed to cling to power.

The US’s astounding sanguinity in the face of Morsy’s completion of the Islamization of Egypt is an illustration of everything that is wrong and dangerous about US Middle East policy today.

Take US policy toward Syria.

Syria is in possession of one of the largest arsenals of chemical and biological weapons in the world. The barbarism with which the regime is murdering its opponents is a daily reminder – indeed a flashing neon warning sign – that Syria’s nonconventional arsenal constitutes a clear and present danger to international security. And yet, the Obama administration insists on viewing Syrian President Bashar Assad’s murderous behavior as if it were a garden variety human rights crisis.

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  • Mazima

    This article is totally biased: the writer sees Egyptians as a slaves without any right to shape their foreign policy. Obana’s administration has no choice but to respect egypt’s new government & president since they came after democratic elections. Egypt has full right to question israek’s peace treaty terms 33 years after the event, since circumstances have changed on ground. Egypt has full right to reestsblish full sovereignty upon its own Sinai. May be it’s restoring the unfair balance of power in the middle east. May the US needs to reconsider its unchecked blind support to Israel against all Arab states & Palestinian rights in a fair resolution based on UN Security Council 252 & 332. US has to stop dividing the wirld as allies & enemies & start thinking of other countries as partners who have rights & interests too. US has been so blind for thaw past 59 years & just starting to see clearly now!

    • Mullah Assassin

      Don’t you think that what began as a revolution for freedom and democracy by the youth, who did most of the fighting and protesting in Tahrir Square, was hijacked by the MB? The recent upsurge in terrorism in the Sinai, just after MB came into power, doesn’t this worry you?

      And just for the record, democracy is much, much more than elections….

      • SCREW SOCIALISM

        Mullah Assassin AKBAR!

    • Rifleman

      The only reason Egypt possesses the Sinai, is because Israel was nice enough to give it back after they lost it attacking Israel.

      • Silver ScumbAG

        Pure stupidity on the part of Israel. Returned land and oil and a coast line for a piece of paper with Dhimmy Carter's signature on it.

        Carter's baby clothing is worth more!.

        Israel will have to invade. This will be done but Israelis will get killed.

        If I were PM, I would have invaded years ago and dump the worthless US dollar and Euros for gold, silver and bathroom tissue. Bathroom tissue, stored in a cool warehouse will always have value. The US dollar?

        Plus all of that oil thanks to its own ingenuity, the coast line and easy access to the Red Sea. What will Israel do in a future Entebbe? Ask permission from Egypt to cross the Sinai??

        Last time I was in Colombia, I saw a girl wearing a T-Shirt saying in Spanish: " Colombia, My Land ". Colombia once gave land to the FARC in the late 90's. A move supported by Pres. Clinton.

        Colombia invaded and found extensive tunnels and laboratories.

        Israel will invade if it wants to thrive and not be a slither of farms, IDF and IAF bases, high tech shools, shoping centers, condos, night clubs, over paid worthless politicians, beaches, West Jerusalem and gay bars.

      • Looking4Sanity

        LOL funny! True, too!

      • Kufar Dawg

        Israel has given back the Sinai TWICE, both times after being strong-armed by other countries.

    • rusyn

      what the u.s.has to do now is not give them anymore money. as a matter of fact they should cut the money supply to all but israel. israel is the only partner america has in that part of the world. the muslims have shown themselves to be the barbarians that communist china and the soviet union were, only worse. no one can top the sheer depravity of crucifying ones enemies.

      • Mullah be Damned

        Sadly enough Obama will continue to give them billions because he wanted this to happen all along.

        • Kufar Dawg

          I've tried writing my worthless "elected" representatives about why my tax dollars are going to support islamofascist states, most of the corrupt scumbags never even bothered replying.

    • Drakken

      Can't wait until your population of 80 million starts to starve because you love islam more than you love life, you will not be missed.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Muzzima, Egypt is a nation of slaves.

      The Pharaohs disappeared and it's been down hill for Egypt ever since.

    • aspacia

      Every person has a choice, just as you choose to post your idiocy. The Arab world ignored the UN when it recognized Israel, now they cry for Israel to play by international law. Such hypocrites.

      Do I really have to cite the numerous time the Arab world has violated international law — human shields, trying to break a legal blockade, intentionally targeting civilians especially sleeping families, nurseries, school buses etc.

      And you call Glick biased.

  • Rifleman

    Like so many others, including Iran, the dp didn't lose Egypt, they gave it away. I think they do consider these positive developments. They fall for every commie that comes down the pike, and most of the jihadis.

    • Michael

      BOgus didn't lose Egypt,he got what he want,mission accomplished.

  • Schlomotion

    This article is much less a political analysis than it is an apologia for Israeli preemptive strike capability against Egypt, Syria and Iran, and a general proclamation that the United States is politically incompetent for making political decisions on the global stage that infuriate Israelis. In this article, Ms. Glick is trying to defend in advance Israel's future grandstanding on militarily attacking the Sinai, Syria and Iran. What is the alternative? Was the United States supposed to flip out, blink their eyes and gesticulate incredulously that an old dictator in Egypt was dying of a stroke? Can US, Saudi and Israeli medicine revive such a man for another 30 years of institutional dictatorial rule? Was the US supposed to find a political clone of Hosni Mubarak?

    When she chastises the United States for not invading a country whose old and new regimes function under a suspended Constitution and a perpetual state of emergency, does she not realize that the United States functions that way too? What about Israel's perpetual war-footing? But that's defensive no? Doesn't every country like to characterize its belligerence as a defensive war-footing? Doesn't every ambitious dictatorship whether individual, military, collective, corporate, or committee-based wish that it had the ability to go punch all the nations' enemies in the head first and station its military hardware as far out from its borders as it can?

    • Advocatus

      Hey presto! Schlomo-Flipside's Pavlovian reflex kicked in on cue and off he's gone on another inane anti-Israel diatribe tangentially, if at all, related to the the contents of an article at hand. Do carry on!

    • Drakken

      Hey if you love the muslims so much, go live with them and rot.

    • Mullah be Damned

      Let's say you're right. So what then?

    • Stern

      Wow schlomind, it's taking you longer and longer to say absolutely nothing.

      • Kufar Dawg

        Maybe he gets paid by the syllable.

    • Ghostwriter

      Here we go again. Another anti-Jewish diatribe from Schlomotion.

    • poppakap

      So much blathering, so little wisdom and thinking. At least Slomo is consistently boring in his anti-semitism.

  • BS77

    Coptic Christians in Egypt…be afraid, be very afraid.

  • Stan Lee

    I doubt if many Americans consider Obama's presidency as successful, but to the world outside the USA Obama's voice carries the prestige of the American President.

    Obama called for Mubarak's downfall, Egypt responded to that call. The Muslim brotherhood was there to fill the vacuum. Did Obama know of this or not?

    • https://www.facebook.com/ralph.haglund Ralph Haglund

      Obama has favored the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt for several years. He has refused the small democratic_like groups in ALL muslim countries in the Middle East, from Iran to Syria to Egypt to Libya. Everywhere he has let the Muslim Brotherhood in, as he and Turkey want to do in Syria. He let Al Qaeda in to Libya.

    • Mullah be Damned

      Yes, he did. That's why he did it.

    • Michael

      Yes,he did!

  • PAthena

    President Obama is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. He entertained President Morsi of Egypt, while he snubbed Prime Minister Netanyahu. His Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has as a close aide Huma Abedin, whose family are active members of the Muslim Brotherhood and Sisterhood, and who herself has worked for them. See Andrew Clancy on this. The House of Representatives is to investigate the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. government.
    Note that Obama is a propagandist for Mohammedanism. E.G., he ordered the Islamic attack of the soldiers at Fort Hood by an Islamic fanatic shouting "Allahu Akbar," to be relabelled as "workplace violence" instead of "Islamic terrorism.

    • Mullah be Damned

      Obama is a closet islamist.

      • poppakap

        Closet? Really?

  • Reason_For_Life

    The Middle East is a region in which individualism and liberty are unknown. It is ruled by tribal passions, clan warfare and religious insanity. Promoting "democracy" in a region dominated by these things will necessarily result in theocratic dictatorships.

    Was nothing learned from Carter's stupid meddling in Iran? Was nothing learned from Bush's moronic Iraq invasion? Christians have fled Iraq. Coptics are fleeing Egypt.

    Bush believed that overthrowing a vicious secular dictatorship would be the first domino in a series of regime collapses resulting in democracy sweeping away dictatorship after dictatorship in the Middle East. His policy worked, but not how he expected it to. What he didn't understand was that democracy in a mystical, anti-individualist culture means mob rule by the lowest common denominator.

    Obama, who is even more ignorant than Bush, has applauded the result and aided the "new democrats" of the Middle East.

    Perhaps what happened was inevitable given the rise of Islamic fanaticism in the region but there can be little doubt that the truly bipartisan stupidity of Bush and Obama did nothing to prevent it.

    • Asher

      Obama has enabled the Brotherhood and…they are brothers together of the same religion!

  • crackerjack

    Who "lost" Egypt ?

    I didn't know Egypt "belonged" to Mrs Glick.

    • poppakap

      What a profoundly stupid comment. Please leave the conversation to the adults.

  • Ghostwriter

    I think we're all going to pay a terrible price for President Obama's naivety.

    • poppakap

      We already have. Hence, the rationale for the article.

    • Kufar Dawg

      I think the zero is anything but naive. Corrupt is the word that springs to mind.

  • flowerknife_us

    Obama and his minions know exactly what they want and are well under way of getting it.

    Fundamental change =changing sides. That's just for starters.

    Thank Obama now for the Millions his deliberate actions will kill.

  • Attila The Hun

    The Arab Spring will be remembered as Obama's worst foreign policy blunder since Carter's disastrous Iran rescue attempt. At least Carter tried to do something. What BHO did? Play golf..

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    Anyone who doesn't realize that Egypt is lost, is in DE NILE.

    ;-P

  • DEWDDS

    Captain Glick writes from the perspective of an IDF veteran and I can at least try to understand something from her POV. The bottom line is that US foreign policy has been terrible at picking potential allies or trying to buy off potential enemies. My question is why does the US send military and monetary support to nations that are so easily swayed by revolutionary sentiments? To use her analogy with the Chinese Civil War, we should not forget that Chaing Kai Shek was no angel and supported many warlords who had no aspirations to democracy. The loss of Egypt was more about wishful thinking than any deliberate foreign policy. Obama was not alone in thinking that secular forces would prevail and now we pay the price. But what value would it have been if the US continued to support Mubarak? The dude was old and stale and his rule was definitely an example of supporting the lesser evil. It is time the US does an inventory of its so-called allies.

    • flowerknife_us

      Obama has been getting rid of our"allies" just as fast as he can. While encouraging the Muslim World to rise against us. A master grievance machine

      God told us he was coming.

  • crackerjack

    I remember it was Glick who bashed Egypt and Mubarak at every possible chance in Israeli publications.

    "You don't know what you got till its gone"……LOL.

  • Rothschild

    Thank you for this informative article…I know this is a political website designed for Republicans… but US politicians use a strategy called swing voting. Why not go to the swing battle ground states, and support those groups (Progressive, Republican) that are pro Israel, and use it as a leveraging tool?…politicians use that tactic all the time among themselves, here, when they are in Congress.

    • Drakken

      Progressive and Pro Israel is an oxymoron, get a clue.

  • Fabio Juliano

    If Egypt breaks the treaty, Israel should take not only the whole of the Sinai, but also both banks of the Suez Canal and part of the Nile Delta. That would give Israel an unlimited supply of fresh water, permanently cripple the economy of Islamist Egypt (they very much depend on tolls from the canal built by 19th century Frenchmen), and prevent international shipping from being disrupted.

    As to Iran, Israel should avail itself of any means necessary to stop its genocidal plan.

    • Kufar Dawg

      I think the military infrastructure of Egypt should also be destroyed. But maybe it would be sufficient for Israel
      to merely threaten the destruction of the Aswan dam — a large target that is difficult to defend.

  • poetcomic1

    Islam was and is built on two things: 1) Lies 2) Terror.

    • Kufar Dawg

      "Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Book 52:
      Volume 4, Book 52, Number 220:

      Narrated Abu Huraira:

      Allah's Apostle said, "I have been sent with the shortest expressions
      bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror
      (cast in the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping, the keys of
      the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand." Abu
      Huraira added: Allah's Apostle has left the world and now you, people, are
      bringing out those treasures (i.e. the Prophet did not benefit by them). "

  • Irandissident

    This is a Strategy NOT a Mistake:
    Long term alliance with and appeasement of Islamists all over the world, seems to be the strategy of the Obama administration, just like Carter's before and just like powerful forces limiting Bush's different global strategy from within and outside his administration.

    What happened in Egypt and Tunisia, was exactly the replay of the Iranian 1979 revolution. Same players, same teachers, same international support systems and lies. Khomeini , while in France, enjoying the greatest PR bestowed on any revolutionary leader by Western media, promised not to enter politics, not to let the Clergy run for high office etc…. The MB, hiding behind young activists ( and stupid- because they refused to see how the Iranian trick was being played on them again) and naive idealists in Tahrir square, promised not to run for Parliamentary seats, then not to run for President. Both Khomeini and Morsi, became absolute rulers soon after their hijacked revolutions.

    America and some European countries, have spent billions in bringing Islamists to power in Tunisia and Egypt and to Turkey as well. Leaving Afghanistan while negotiating with the Taliban, leaving Iraq to Iran and their Allies, part of the same deal. These are NOT mistakes or freak events. These are long term strategic plans.

    Now, when US allies like Turkey and Egypt , openly defy US backed strategic military arrangements ( Turkey within NATO, facing down Israel in naval confrontations and joint NATO maneuvers. Egypt sending illegal aircraft and armor to the Sinai and threatening to defy the Camp David accords), this cannot be without US approval.

    As Obama would say, "any fool" can understand how detrimental these moves are to Israel. These people in charge of foreign policy, would love to cut Israel down to size, by supporting enemies surrounding it with overwhelming military forces.

    The intense and abnormally hateful campaign against Bush II, was not just due to "Iraq" but really over a global strategy of long term alliance with Islamist countries and movements. Israel was and is still too small and insignificant to change this strategy and can even be sacrificed in the name of "larger interests".

  • aspacia

    We now know Saddam's WMD's did go to Syria. Why aren't the Republican's using this against the lying left smears against Rummy and WBYA??