The biggest demonstration in human history is a blow to Obama as well as a humiliation of Islamism. And you might expect Obama — who has favored the Muslim Brotherhood ever since he insisted they sit in the VIP seats at his Cairo speech to “the Muslim world” — to have worked out some sort of effective strategy for this crisis, which was not hard to foresee, and which was announced well in advance. So what did he do? True to his principles, the president is sticking with the Islamists. He’s even sent “crowd control” experts to Cairo to give advice to his pal Morsi (is there such a thing as an “expert” capable of “controlling” more than ten million people en masse? I don’t think so). He instructed his ambassador to lecture Egyptian Coptic Christians about the importance of supporting the Brothers, even though the Copts are being attacked in the streets and killed in their churches.
It’s reminiscent of the worst moments of the first Bush presidency, when George H.W.B. called on the Ukrainians to resist the temptations of independence and stick with the just-become-former-Soviets in his infamous “Chicken Kiev” speech. Like Bush The Elder, Obama is sticking with the tyrant he knows and likes, rather than rallying to the side of Morsi’s suffering people, who cheekily embrace American values, even as they express their contempt for an American leader who supports the Brotherhood.
Obama is hoping that Egypt 2013 will be a replay of Iran 2009, that the people will be crushed, and that the regime will survive.
History’s on his side. Most revolutions fail. On the other hand, tyrannies are the least stable form of government, and ours is a revolutionary epoch. The Muslim Brothers may well be the Bolsheviks of the Arab world, but they don’t have Lenin’s evil genius for enforcing their will on the masses, Kerensky didn’t have Twitter, and Morsi doesn’t have Felix Dzerzhinsky (Islamists don’t put Polish Jews at the head of the security service, so far as I know).