THIS SAYS IT – AT 11:39 A.M. ET: We return to the forgotten theme of this election, our crumbling foreign policy. Apparently, Romney doesn't want to hit this too hard as voters are concerned more about their economic situation, and I understand the fears of the average American.
And yet, we are losing. These losses may come back to haunt us in future years. Foreign-policy defeats always do. One of the greatest current disasters is Egypt, the most important country in the Arab world. We have, somehow, turned a difficult situation into a near-hopeless one. Barry Rubin, in the Jerusalem Post, says it bluntly:
I could write an 800-page book about how the Obama administration’s Middle East policy has damaged US interests. But why bother?
This is all you need to know: The US government asked its good buddy Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy to inspect an Iranian ship suspected of carrying arms to Syria while it passed through the Suez Canal. Remember that to do so is arguably in Egypt’s own interest since Cairo is supporting the rebels while Tehran backs the regime.
The Egyptian government, despite three decades of massive US aid, licensing to produce advanced American tanks and other equipment, strategic backing and an invitation to Washington to meet Obama – refused. Indeed, Morsy headed for Tehran to attend a “nonaligned” conference.
Does this mean Egypt is going to ally with Iran? No, Egypt will fight Iran for influence tooth and nail. The two countries will kill each others’ surrogates. But it means Morsy feels no friendlier toward America than he does toward Iran. And Cairo will not lift a finger to help Washington against Tehran unless, perhaps, America is willing to put a Muslim Brotherhood government in place in Syria, which might well happen.
In other words, under Jimmy Carter’s watch we got Islamist Iran – and, yes, things could have turned out very differently – and under Obama’s watch – and, yes, things could have turned out very differently – we got Islamist Egypt.
Egypt, the Arab world’s most important country, has been turned from an ally of America against the Iranian threat into, at best, a neutral between Washington and Tehran that will do nothing to help America.
Egypt, the Arab world’s most important country, has been turned from an ally of America – albeit an imperfect one, of course – in maintaining and trying to extend Arab-Israeli peace into a leading advocate of expanding the conflict and even potentially of going to war.
Egypt, the Arab world’s most important country, has been turned from an ally of America in fighting international terrorism into an ally of most international terrorist groups (except those that occasionally target Egypt itself).
COMMENT: Welcome to the Obama foreign policy. And this is the area that the Democrats think is his great success. I wonder what they think failure looks like.
September 3, 2012