When Obama went down to Cairo in the spring of ’09, his speech, titled “A New Beginning,” was little more than a thinly disguised call for regime change. It wasn’t so much the words that mattered as the message behind them that the Mubarak government no longer enjoyed backing from Washington, D.C.
The alliance between Egyptian liberals and Islamists that overthrew Mubarak, in a coup mediated by the military, was cheered as an expression of popular will. What it actually was, was the whistling sound of air escaping into a post-American power vacuum.
Obama’s call for regional regime change led to the fall of multiple governments allied with the United States. And democracy inevitably ratified Islamist political power as everyone knew it was bound to after Hamas’s political victories led the Bush administration to back away from further experimentation with democracy expansionism.
Like most leftist foreign policy thinkers, Obama missed the larger implications of his actions. He cut off friendly regional governments the way that Carter had abandoned the Shah, and like Carter, he quickly lost control of the outcome.
The Muslim Brotherhood, the dreamboat moderate Islamists of the leftist foreign policy set, moved far more quickly than Turkish Islamist tyrant Erdogan had because they were facing too much instability to pace themselves. The alliance between the Egyptian left and the Islamists broke down. The left joined with the very military leadership that they had been denouncing not too long ago to bring down Morsi.
Now it’s a game of chicken between the new Egyptian government and Obama.
The Muslim Brotherhood, reverting to its roots as a terrorist organization, is touching off violent rallies, shooting its own people in the back and blaming the military.
The Egyptian military is playing the long game by betting that Egyptians are tired of the endless protests that have been congealing the economy and are ready to back a crackdown by the last working institution in the country. And it’s charging Morsi with collaborating with Hamas to embarrass Obama into backing away from his support for the restoration of the Muslim Brotherhood regime.
The consistent message from the Egyptian government and its supporters is that by backing Morsi and the Brotherhood, Obama is supporting terrorism. The message is true enough, but the assumption that anyone in Washington, D.C. cares is overly optimistic.
Congress refused to stop Obama from arming Muslim Brotherhood terrorists in Syria and has done nothing to stop him from intimidating Israel into rewarding Turkish Islamist aggression with an apology for the Mavi Marmara raid. Or more recently, releasing murderous terrorists with blood on their hands.
There still hasn’t been a serious congressional investigation tying together Obama’s lies about Benghazi that led to the attack on Libya, the takeover of Benghazi by Islamist militias and the attack by the militias on the Benghazi mission that cost the lives of four Americans.
There have hardly been any hard questions asked about Obama’s Arab Spring effort to overthrow friendly governments and replace them with Islamist terrorist groups.
Any revelations about an Obama-Morsi-Hamas triangle will stop at the media wall of silence which will go on chanting in unison that democracy must be restored to Egypt as soon as possible. And that is because we have no more of an independent media than Egypt does. CNN, NBC and the New York Times may not be owned by the state the way many Egyptian media outlets are, but they act like they are.
However chanting an idiotic slogan and doing something about it are two different things.
Obama’s only leverage over Egypt is foreign aid. It’s why he has avoided calling the overthrow of Morsi a coup. He wants to be able to keep his hands on the purse strings, loosening them or tightening them based on the concessions that he extracts from the Egyptian government. And he wants to do it without any legal interference.
But foreign aid isn’t very good leverage. Juggling foreign aid to Pakistan produced no results. Denying Egypt’s military the F-16s that Obama was eager to give the Muslim Brotherhood won’t bring Egypt to its knees. Its only real enemy right now is the Brotherhood and it doesn’t need jets or tanks to fight it.
It’s a game of chicken now. The collision point is Egyptian collapse. The question is which side is more willing to see Egypt implode.
The Egyptian military defied Obama when it took down Morsi despite threats and pleas from Obama Inc. The earlier crackdown on foreign NGOs under Morsi helped clear the deck of the regime change crowd that organized the campaign against Mubarak under the guise of democracy. If the new Egyptian government can oversee a return to stability, then it will have won the staring contest with Obama and his Muslim Brotherhood allies.
Like most terrorists, the Muslim Brotherhood’s power lies in disruption. The more violence it touches off and the more it plays the victim of its own violence, the likelier it is to return to power. Brotherhood leaders have signaled that they are all in, escalating the violence and escalating the military response.
Terrorism invites foreign diplomatic intervention. Every time the Muslim Brotherhood stages another riot, foreign governments pressure the Egyptian government to make concessions to the Brotherhood.
The Muslim Brotherhood and Obama Inc. are partners. The Brotherhood throws the bombs and Obama urges restraint. The Brotherhood parades the corpses of its members that its own people shot in the back and Obama’s minions tell the Egyptian government that it must stop cracking down on protests.
The more the Brotherhood escalates the violence, the more Obama escalates the pressure, and the only way for the Egyptian government to break the cycle is to break the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s the same problem that Israel faced for decades and is still dealing with.
In ’09, Obama destabilized Egypt. To get the Muslim Brotherhood back into power, he has to continue destabilizing the country.
As long as Obama encourages the Brotherhood to think that he wants it back in power, it has cause to hope that its violence will win the day. That is why the riots and the killings are Obama’s responsibility.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s protests and the counter-protests are not aimed at Egypt, but at an audience 5,000 miles away in Washington.
Obama can help end the violence by ending the pressure on the new Egyptian government, signaling to the Muslim Brotherhood that further efforts at disrupting the transition will be futile. That was the signal that he sent to liberal protesters throughout Morsi’s time in power. And until he does that, the blood from the rising death toll in Egypt will be on his hands.
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