WAPO’s David Ignatius had an important Dec. 7 column in which he raised a question about Obama’s stance toward the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, and then answered his own question.
The question was crucial: “How did Washington become the best friend of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, even as President Mohamed Morsi was asserting dictatorial powers and his followers were beating up secular liberals in the streets of Cairo?”
Ignatius’ answer has many layers, and one of the more poignant ones is his assertion that Obama missed signs that Morsi would be given to corruption from the start. In this, Obama failed to see what many in Morsi’s own government have seen as they “resigned in protest” in reaction to Morsi’s Nov. 22 power grab.
Ignatius also says Obama and his administration have blinded themselves through their continual assertion that “[Egypt] isn’t America,” and that “Egyptians and other Arabs are writing their history now.” This high-minded approach, even if true of motivation, works out well on paper but not in practice because the Egyptians are not writing anything. Rather, Morsi’s tyrannical tendencies are.
Lastly, Ignatius says Obama may have committed the error of falling in love with his client. To demonstrate this, Ignatius cites George W. Bush and Iraq, saying that Bush’s decisions toward the end were blinded by a love of client in the person of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Ignatius says excuses were made to keep Maliki in power when he should have been relieved, and that this blind approach was so strong, it even bled over into the Obama administration, which also sought to keep Maliki in place.
In Ignatius’ view, all these things are happening right now with Obama and the Muslim Brotherhood, and Obama and Mohamed Morsi. He says the first step back to a better place is to start leading instead of following, via a leadership based on “interests and values” rather than “transient alliances and friendships.”
The bottom line: Ignatius has thrown the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi under the bus. And as long as Obama remains determined to hold to their coattails, he is under the bus with them.