Is Obama losing Egypt?

Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, a cunning tactician in an unflenching quest to establish a Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist dictatorship in Egypt, must have grasped the essential softness of American policy in the Middle East during his talks with Israel and the U.S. to reach a cease-fire agreement in Gaza. Immediately after the success of the cease-fire talks, for which he received great praise from the Hillary Clinton and the U.S. for the role he played, he seized the moment by launching his and the Muslim Brotherhood’s coup d’etat, issuing his infamous “constitutional decree” on November 22.

Washington needed Morsi to conclude the truce between Hamas and Israel when an invasion of Gaza  by Israeli forces seemed imminent.

The U.S. needed and needs Egypt’s support to keep the entire 1979 Camp David peace treaty from coming unraveled. This gives Morsi great leverage.

And, judging from Obama’s silence and the anodyne statements issuing from Washington, America is willing to look the other way as Morsi executes a coup d’etat on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

To be sure, it will take Morsi and the Brotherhood a little time to fully and formally consolidate their power and control over all the institutions of the Egyptian state. But the draft constitution when approved will give them the constitutional architecture necessary to achieve their goals.

In all of this, the President of the United States has been been quiet, maintaining a deafening silence in the face of Morsi’s coup d’etat.

The situation calls out for him to make a clear and outspoken demand for Morsi to restore the rule of law, or risk losing $1.5 billion per year in military assistance, and another $4.8 billion IMF standby loan agreement–not yet formally approved.  Neither should be extended to a new Egyptian dictator, ruling under an authoritarian constitution instead of a modern constitution–based on the separation of powers and the rule of law–to chart the course of a new democracy in Egypt.

Barack Obama is losing Egypt.

It is the character of the Egyptian state, and whether it is governed by the rule of law, that will ultimately provide Israel with the best guarantee that Egypt will be a trustworthy parrner for peace in the coming years and decades.

Moreover, Congress will not continue to fund at $1.5 billion per year the military of an Islamic dictatorship in Egypt.

By not speaking out now for the rule of law in Egypt, Obama is betting that “making nice” with Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood will best secure U.S. national interests.

He is likely to be sorely disappointed. In four years, the Democrats could well be vulnerable to the charge that Obama “lost” Egypt to an authoritarian and potentially totalitarian Islamic dictatorship, like that in Iran.

But this is merely from the electoral point of view. What is actually at stake is of much greater significance to the national interests of the United States and the West, and other countries in the region.

Is Obama losing Egypt?

What is Obama doing to prevent Egypt from becoming an Islamic dictatorship, like Iran?  That is the question of the hour.

The Trenchant Observer