In a stunning admission a media currently obsessed with manufacturing a gaffe for Romney can hardly bring itself to report, President Obama made a tacit admission yesterday that he has lost Egypt as an American ally:
President Obama says the U.S. would no longer consider the Egyptian government an ally, “but we don’t consider them an enemy.”
In an interview with the Spanish-language network Telemundo, less than 24 hours after violent mobs stormed American diplomatic outposts in Cairo and Benghazi, Libya, Obama said the new Muslim Brotherhood leadership in Egypt was still “trying to find its way.”
“They were democratically elected. I think we are going to have to see how they respond to this incident, to see how they respond to maintaining the peace treaty with Israel,” he said.
This morning, on MSNBC of all places, NBC’s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel obviously didn’t get the memo about protecting The One throughout this crisis and hammered Obama over losing one of three allies America has in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia and Israel being the other two):
CHUCK TODD: I just want to get your first reaction, before you give me a report, of the President saying Egypt was not an ally or an enemy.
RICAHED ENGEL: Yeah, I almost had to sit down when I heard that. For the last forty years, the United States has had two main allies in the Middle East — Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the other ally in the Middle East being Israel. For the President to come out and say, well, he’s not exactly sure if Egypt is an ally any more but it’s not an enemy, that is a significant change in the perspective of Washington toward this country, the biggest country in the Arab world. It makes one wonder, well, was it worth it? Was it worth supporting the Arab Spring, supporting the demonstrations here in Tahrir Square, when now in Tahrir Square there are clashes going on behind me right in front of the US embassy?
Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey fills in the rest:
Who lost Egypt? Barack Obama. His administration waited eight whole days when those demonstrations erupted to demand Mubarak’s ouster, and then insisted on immediate elections — even though the only opposition organized well enough at that point in time for elections was the radical Muslim Brotherhood. In both Egypt and even more in Libya — where Obama applied military force to dislodge and topple Moammar Qaddafi — the White House left power vacuums that allowed the most radical elements to seize control. Critics of Obama’s policies in both regards warned of this very outcome eighteen months ago, to no avail.
The point Morrissey makes here about the White House pushing for elections when the only possible outcome was the Muslim Brotherhood taking over is a crucial one.
This is leading from behind and refusing to get your hands dirty in the crucial role of filling a power vacuum you helped to create with American influence.
And don’t buy the spin that this wasn’t an either/or proposition. We weren’t boxed in by events that said we either stand by our ally Mubarak or live with the Muslim Brotherhood after democratically held elections.
We had a third option and that was to get in there, engage, and work our will to create the kind of power structure that wouldn’t have allowed what happened on Tuesday to happen. What stops attacks like the one on our embassy is cooperation from the host country’s government in the form of intel and muscle.
For all the hell it cost us, we we’re able to foster that kind of government In Iraq and Afghanistan. The only question now is whether or not President Lead From Behind is doing the difficult work to retain those relationships.
Announcing the date of our Afghan withdrawal to our enemies surely didn’t help.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC