Remember that distant time so long ago when Obama promised that he would end our old backward policy of supporting tyrants in order to win over the Arab Street. And here we are, four years later, and Obama is supporting a tyrant in Cairo, a problem that has even broken into the normally supportive pages of the Washington Post.
How did Washington become the best friend of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, even as President Mohamed Morsi was asserting dictatorial powers and his followers were beating up secular liberals in the streets of Cairo? It’s a question many Arabs ask these days, and it deserves an answer.
Morsi and his Brotherhood followers are on a power trip after decades of isolation and persecution… And let’s be honest: The Obama administration has been Morsi’s main enabler. U.S. officials have worked closely with him on economic development and regional diplomacy. Visiting Washington last week, Morsi’s top aides were touting their boss’s close contacts with President Obama and describing phone calls between the two leaders that led to the Gaza cease-fire.
Probably thinking he had America’s backing, Morsi overreached on Nov. 22 by declaring that his presidential decrees were not subject to judicial review. His followers claim that he was trying to protect Egypt’s revolution from judges appointed by Hosni Mubarak. But that rationale has worn thin as members of Morsi’s government resigned in protest, thousands of demonstrators took the streets and, ominously, Muslim Brotherhood supporters began counterattacking with rocks, clubs and metal pipes.
Through this upheaval, the Obama administration has been oddly restrained. After the power grab, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said: “We call for calm and encourage all parties to work together and call for all Egyptians to resolve their differences over these important issues peacefully and through democratic dialogue.” Not exactly a thundering denunciation.
And no thundering denunciations will be coming. There’s a reason why Obama has backed Islamist governments and ignored Anti-Islamist protesters and the two sets of Tahrir Square protests and the contrasting administration responses provide for an excellent control group study.
It’s crazy for Washington to appear to take sides against those who want a liberal, tolerant Egypt and for those who favor sharia. Somehow, that’s where the administration has ended up.
That’s where the administration ended up in Turkey. It’s where it ended up in Iran. Why should anyone be surprised that it ended up in the same expected place in Egypt?
Liberals fashionably take the side of Sharia in the West. They ally with the Muslim Brotherhood’s front groups in the US and Europe. Why be surprised at the practical implications of such alliances?
CAIR is out there defending Morsi. Why be surprised that CAIR’s liberal allies also have Morsi’s back?