The Pharoah's Curse
The administration ended its silence on Morsi's coup in Egypt by saying "the current constitutional vacuum in Egypt can only be resolved by the adoption of a constitution that includes checks and balances, and respects fundamental freedoms, individual rights, and the rule of law consistent with Egypt's international commitments."
In a statement, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Morsi's actions go against the "the aspirations of the revolution" in 2011 that led to the ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak ...
"We call for calm and encourage all parties to work together and call for all Egyptians to resolve their differences over these important issues peacefully and through democratic dialogue," Nuland said.
Thomas Friedman, who had visions of Morsi paving a road to a peace agreement with Israel, is cruelly disappointed by the turn of events. "It is impossible not to be tantalized by how much leverage Morsi could wield in the peace process, if he ever chose to engage Israel."
Ironically, though, all of this would depend on Morsi not becoming a dictator like Mubarak, but on him remaining a legitimately elected president, truly representing the Egyptian people. That is now in doubt given Morsi’s very troubling power grab last week and the violent response from the Egyptian street. President Obama has to be careful not to sell out Egyptian democracy for quiet between Israel and Egypt and Hamas. We tried that under Mubarak. It didn’t end well.
It's amazing. Apparently Friedman thought the Muslim Brotherhood would be more democratic than Mubarak. Now he's surprised, completely surprised, that things didn't turn out that way.
Now Friedman begins to see what many previous posts have pointed out all along: that the Obama administration, having attempted to "ride the tiger," finds it cannot get off. Friedman writes:
Therefore, here’s what I do expect: More trouble between Israel and Hamas that will constantly threaten to drag in Egypt. Hamas is a shameful organization. It subordinates the interests of the Palestinian people to Iran (and earlier to Syria), which wants Hamas to do everything it can to make a two-state solution impossible, because that will lock Israel into a permanent death grip on the West Bank, which will be the undoing of the Jewish democracy and will distract the world from Iran’s and Syria’s murderous behaviors.
It's worse than that, Tom. As I noted in past posts, recent events from Benghazi to Gaza suggest that the administration's "Arab Spring" policy is a busted flush. All across North Africa and in the Levant, forces which the administration only imagined would be friendly to the United States are now proving they will behave in a hostile and possibly reckless manner.
Egypt will soon run out of food and money. America has already been driven out of Eastern Libya. Syria may soon be taken over by jihadi-like elements. Jordan is teetering. And Iran is shipping new rockets to Gaza. What are the odds for the "calm" that Victoria Nuland hopes for?
The president will be increasingly caught between preserving the very life of Israel and salvaging the ruins of his attempts to "lead from behind." It is now turning out to be a case of "lead by the nose." Hamza Hendawi of the Associated Press recounts how Morsi tricked Obama into letting him hold his wallet while he went for a dip in the public relations ocean.
CAIRO (AP) -- The Gaza cease-fire deal reached Wednesday marks a startling trajectory for Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi: an Islamist leader who refuses to talk to Israelis or even say the country's name mediated for it and finally turned himself into Israel's de facto protector.
The accord inserts Egypt to an unprecedented degree into the conflict between Israel and Hamas, establishing it as the arbiter ensuring that militant rocket fire into Israel stops and that Israel allows the opening of the long-blockaded Gaza Strip and stops its own attacks against Hamas.
"I want to thank President Morsi for his personal leadership to de-escalate the situation in Gaza and end the violence," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who met Morsi on Wednesday, said at a Cairo press conference with Egypt's foreign minister announcing the accord.
Translation: "Thank you for leashing the pit bull you unleashed in the first place. And would you please hold my wallet while I take a walk? Gee, thanks, you're such a nice guy." Attagirl, Hillary!
It's not as if the administration had no warning of trouble ahead. The attack on the Benghazi consulate was a big neon sign blinking the message "danger" in glowing red letters in the dark of the Obama administration's night. But all they could think of in the face of that danger signal was to get Susan Rice to talk about a video. Anything to get Obama elected. Any lie, any deception, any debt to history. Now the bandages are coming off the mummy's face.