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Putin Is the Victor in Egypt as Obama Stumbles

The Russian strongman skips into the great power vacuum that Obama left for him.

by
Abraham H. Miller

Bio

August 23, 2013 - 12:30 am

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.

Obama’s personal infatuation with the Brotherhood goes back, publicly at least, to his now famous speech at Cairo University in 2009.  There he insulted the Egyptian government by inviting members of the Muslim Brotherhood and seating them prominently in the front of the auditorium.  Then he launched an incomprehensible speech that showcased a distorted and uncritical view of Islam and put Islam and America on the same footing. It was obsequious, pandering, and certainly inappropriate for any leader of a great nation.  Vladimir Putin would never have made it.

To give this outrageous speech, Obama had to close his eyes to the misogyny, bigotry, and backwardness that have condemned the Islamic world to remain stranded in the Middle Ages.  The sycophantic American media, still swooning over the election of the first black president, heralded it as great.  It was anything but great.  It was a recipe for disaster that foretold Obama’s abandoning of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the opening of Egypt to the tyranny of the Muslim Brotherhood.  It showed that Obama was clueless about Egypt’s vital role in preserving both the balance of power and stability in the region.

Oblivious to the changing dynamic created by the new alignment in Egypt and what it took for the Saudis to openly challenge America’s Egyptian policy, the Obama administration still plays the only note it knows how to play, leaving Putin with one foot in the Iranian camp and one foot in the Egyptian.  Putin has not only managed to outmaneuver the dim-witted Obama, but he is also straddling both sides of the Shia/Sunni divide.

Obama is once again leading from behind.  In this case, he is following the man he admires most in the Middle East, Turkey’s Prime Minister  Tayyip Erdogan.  America has become hostage to Turkey’s hegemonic interests.  Turkey supports the opposition in Syria because with Bashar Assad out of the picture, Iran’s hegemonic dream of a Shi’ite crescent from Tehran to the Mediterranean is no longer possible.  Sunni Turkey no longer has to be concerned about sharing power in the region with Shi’ite Iran. If the Brotherhood in Egypt is restored to power, Egypt will be significantly weakened and Turkey will not have to worry about a powerful Egypt as a major regional competitor.

Where Turkey has gone in Syria and Egypt, Obama has followed. From Russia’s perspective, however, Iran is substantially less of a threat to its interests than is NATO-allied Turkey.  Consequently, Russia supports both Shi’ite-backed Assad and the Sunni-backed Egyptian military because they are both foils to Turkish interests and give Russia a presence as a power broker on both sides of the ongoing Shi’ite/Sunni conflict.

Obama is not considering America’s interests in the region.  He is still the neurotic narcissist standing in the adulation of the crowd at Cairo University as the young and naïve students resonate to his banalities and as the Muslim Brotherhood leaders look on with bemusement from their front-row seats.  And Vladimir Putin, this morning, must wonder if there is a God, for in Barack Obama, Russia has truly been blessed.

Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science and a former head of the Intelligence Studies Section of the International Studies Association.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
and again with the nonsensical notions of "not understanding the threat of the MB" and "amateurish foreign policy," pretending once more than the old calculus applies to this adminstration. It does not. What normal people see as bugs, this White House views are features.

Obama knows precisely who the Brotherhood is; sending out to Clapper to dispense misinformation does not change that. He counts on a sycophantic press corps to feed the soup of the day to the adoring low-info masses who have already ignored demonstrably proven lies about the NSA program. Obama doesn't see the MB as threat; he sees it as a desired outcome. How many results that defy normal convention must one see before the only conclusion that can be drawn is that Obama's definition of normal is not, well normal?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thank god that Obama is a weak empty suit, otherwise he would have sent the US navy and air force to threaten the Egyptian army to reinstate the MB.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Putin may, in fact, be less Anti-American than Obama. No, I am not joking.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (30)
All Comments   (30)
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I'll agree regarding Obama.

two issues:

The Assads are Alawite, not Sunni or Shia.
It appears the Reichstag was torched by the guy whose head was chopped off for doing it. Hitler took it as a great opportunity to do what he planned to do anyway.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Obama administration does not underestimate the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood. They fully understand and support them. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood are in key positions at the White House including serving as an advisor to DHS. People wake up...the Muslim Brotherhood is running our country....where is the outrage?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think I'm more outraged that the one entity that I believed would act if this happened (The US Military) stood by and did nothing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Chalk up yet another victory for Putin. According to a report this afternoon, President Obama was furious after he found out Vladimir Putin had unfriended him on Facebook. http://www.thedailyrash.com/obama-furious-after-putin-unfriends-him-on-facebook
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama didn't stumble; he took a header. He, and his team of experts are clueless twits. The anointed One makes ponderous, vapid statements, and the world laughs. One could knit socks with his multitude of red lines. It's not so much that he's leading from behind as it is a behind is leading.,
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
and again with the nonsensical notions of "not understanding the threat of the MB" and "amateurish foreign policy," pretending once more than the old calculus applies to this adminstration. It does not. What normal people see as bugs, this White House views are features.

Obama knows precisely who the Brotherhood is; sending out to Clapper to dispense misinformation does not change that. He counts on a sycophantic press corps to feed the soup of the day to the adoring low-info masses who have already ignored demonstrably proven lies about the NSA program. Obama doesn't see the MB as threat; he sees it as a desired outcome. How many results that defy normal convention must one see before the only conclusion that can be drawn is that Obama's definition of normal is not, well normal?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
With any luck most of the esteemed allies ( egypt, iraq, EU) the US has accquired over the past 40 years will now drain the russian treasury instead.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Vlad is welcome to Egypt, and Egypt is well deserving of Vlad.
I'd say....the two deserve each other.
Good luck Vlad you wild and crazy guy.
You will need all the luck you can get.
Check six.
NOW, jobs, economy, infrastructure and the MOON!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thank god that Obama is a weak empty suit, otherwise he would have sent the US navy and air force to threaten the Egyptian army to reinstate the MB.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is human nature of the young to get romantic about magic, power and great beauty
So it took Jesus 40 days and 40 nights without food and water to do the impossible as Moses do and he brought back the message of blessings on the power and weak and let the angels in the back ground do the acrobatics and heavy lifting with their war with the demon strongholds so power not go to man's head and heart as we see in Lord of the rings
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ts4ym1c5fi8
Barrick Obama keeps the poor and weak in mind and heart in his nation good for all aged baby boomers to try the prancersize instead of acrobactics however it nice to see 60+ year old crusaders still doing spiritual acrobats I believe
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Putin may, in fact, be less Anti-American than Obama. No, I am not joking.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I Like Vlad better I know where he stands and what he will stand for.
So yes, Vlad is less anti-American than the current POTUS.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The more I understand what the US is evolving into the less I like it, and the mote I look at Russia the more I like it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A power-mad dictatorship with no morality in its foreign policy? Really?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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