The PJ Tatler

You and Me Both, Egypt

Barack Obama turns out to be a uniter!

There is little that the angry supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood have in common with the secular, liberal revelers in Tahrir Square these days — except for one thing.

They both believe the U.S. government is conspiring against them.

After a year of outreach to the Muslim Brotherhood following the election of its candidate, Mohamed Morsi, as president, the United States is widely perceived here as siding with Islamists it once eyed with distrust.

At the same time, the Obama administration’s cautious refusal to condemn Morsi’s ouster last week quickly spent the goodwill it had built with the Brotherhood — without buying any trust from the other side.

Instead, the liberal forces who drove the revolution to topple Morsi view the United States with even more wariness.

“We love the American people,” said Bolis Victor, 34, a middle-class merchant in the Egyptian capital, who said he has relatives in Chicago. “But we hate Obama and Patterson.”

That would be U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne W. Patterson, a career diplomat who assumed the top post in Cairo in 2011.

I’ve long had an affinity for Egypt and its people, with their fabulous history and peaceful relationship with the US and Israel, but didn’t care for who they elected last year. But now they’re a source of hope. The people of Egypt have managed to get the Muslim Brotherhood out of their government. Maybe we can follow suit and get the Muslim Brotherhood out of ours.