Discouraging, but unsurprising, quotes from two years ago at the link:
‘He’s a Muslim Brotherhood man, and this aggressively bigoted and warmongering attitude is de rigueur for that crowd.’
Morsi was probably deploying some political rhetoric as he is a politician, but there’s a lot to be worried about.
Our current administration understandably sat on the fence regarding whether or not to continue supporting Mubarrak and his regime. There was a larger movement afoot in the Middle East and it was roiling Egypt as well. Stability is always an attractive option for us, especially regarding Israel, and the Suez Canal. It’s arguably worth many of billions of dollars.
But change did come, Mubarrak fell, and the deep poverty, the oppressed Brotherhood members and other Islamists, the smaller groups of liberals and the more Western-influenced and well-educated, the many reformers denied access to politics; all of them suddenly faced a vacuum. The immediate prospect was the SCAF filling that vacuum and carrying on as before, installing another leader in Mubarrak’s wake.
There has since been a power struggle for control of the deep state and typically, the longer a power vacuum exists, the worse people there are to fill it. Egyptians came and went from Tahrir Square, tensions rose and fell. We took a hands-off approach, and tried to encourage an orderly process with free and fair elections, all based upon an ideal of democracy that is presumed to be universal.
Nevertheless, we are running into the realities of the Middle-East.
As I see it, the Muslim Brotherhood is better viewed as a member of a broader Islamic resurgence throughout the Levant. They are the most stable front of this resurgence, but there is a revolutionary and ideological quality to their thinking akin to the patchwork of similar interests and neighbors who are generally anti-Western, anti-Israel, and pro-Islam. Following the money, the guns, and the political power isn’t a bad rule of thumb to figure out what the future may hold.
As for Morsi, his political coalition is made up of Salafists and other Islamists in Egypt, and they’re taking over the old, corrupt and oppressive bureaucracy and controlling the public square with a rather narrow Constitution.
Islam has prescriptions not just for the religious and personal spheres, but for politics and the public square as well. Many Westerners can call Al-Qaeda the violent edge of a radical, impossibly purist, interpretation of Islam, trying to lay the blanket of Western humanism, idealism and multiculturalism over the Muslim world in order to blunt this sharp edge, but it will only cover so much. Many Westerners can blame the West first for its colonial adventures, oil and money interests, trade and education interests, but that’s not tenable for the long-haul either. Obama is continuing most of our government’s bureaucratic aims set up in the wake of 9/11: using our military, security agencies, special-ops, and drone-strikes in order to hunt out those who would do us harm.
The broader humanist approach sold as neoconservatism lite or a move away from “empire-building” should be held to some account, no matter the practicality of its realpolitik.
Where do we go from here?
My two cents.
Related On This Site: From Al Jazeera: ‘Egypt Cracks Down On Satirists And Media’
Nancy Okail At Freedom House: “‘Muslim Rage’ and the Politics of Distraction in Egypt’…From Al Jazeera English: ‘Morsi Wins Egypt’s Presidential Election’…Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest on Egypt: ‘Still More of the Same—and Something New’…are we still on a liberalizing, Westernizing trajectory?, however slow the pace? Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘What Did The Arab Spring Really Change?’