We can legitimately debate whether there ever was such a thing as American exceptionalism, but today, it would be difficult to argue that there is not such a thing as American irrelevance. Favoring the Muslim Brotherhood and speaking in patently naïve and platitudinous rhetoric calling for reconciliation between the Egyptian military and the Brotherhood, the Obama administration suspended aid to the military regime in Egypt. Within hours, the Saudis stepped in to replace the suspended aid and showed that the administration’s threats were as meaningless as they were stupid.
In the meantime, Russian President Vladimir Putin has slid into the great-power vacuum to call an extraordinary meeting of the Kremlin and announce that Russia is putting all her military facilities at Egypt’s disposal. Putin also announced Russia’s willingness to replace America in the joint military exercises the Obama administration cancelled as part of its escalating sanctions against the Egyptian military. Igor Morozov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of Russia’s parliament, chastised the American administration for not understanding the threat the Muslim Brotherhood was to the entire region.
The Russians have exploited the amateurish foreign policy of the American administration and shifted the dynamics of power in the Middle East. The Egyptian crisis has created strange bedfellows. In Egypt, the Russians are now aligned with the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates, who are aligned with Israel. Not that these countries are coordinating directly with each other, but they all share a common goal: preventing the spread of the Brotherhood’s version of militant Islam.
For its part, the Obama administration has once again failed to comprehend the threat of the Brotherhood. After all, James Clapper, Obama’s director of national intelligence, gave one of the most ludicrous perspectives imaginable on the Brotherhood when he testified before Congress: “The term Muslim Brotherhood is an umbrella term for a variety of movements. In the case of Egypt, [the Brotherhood is] a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried al-Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.”
One wonders what Clapper has to say about the church burnings, murders, and rapes this largely “secular” movement has orchestrated in the name of Islam or whether its penchant for violence is also a perversion of Islam.
Calling for reconciliation with the Brotherhood is akin to calling on the liberal factions in the Weimar Republic to find a means to reconcile with the Nazis after they burned the Reichstag. Yet the Clapper mentality still pervades the Obama administration, as Secretary of State John Kerry continues to call for reconciliation, thus further alienating not only the interim military government but also the mainstream of Egyptian popular opinion.