The New York Times claims that, for the Obama administration, the current crisis in Egypt is “a replay” of the crisis of early 2011 when protesters demanded the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. According to the Times:
Then, as now, Mr. Obama has moved gingerly, placing a call to President Mohamed Morsi late Monday evening with a message not unlike the one he delivered to his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, two and a half years earlier: Exercise restraint and allow the protesters to express their views peacefully.
The Times thus engages in revisionist history. Obama did not proceed “gingerly” with Mubarak, America’s long-time ally. Instead, he called on Mubarak to step down immediately. When the embattled Egyptian president gave a speech in which he promised not to run for office again, but said he would not step down, Obama’s response, according to the Times, was “that’s not going to cut it.”
Has Obama had a “not going to cut it” moment with Morsi? It does not seem so.
Certainly, there was no sign of one during the last 12 months, when Morsi attempted to undermine Egyptian civil society and silence opposition, moves that helped precipitate the current turmoil. During this period, from all that appears, Obama responded not by telling Morsi that his authoritarianism wouldn’t cut it, but rather by supplying his regime with arms and money, and by attempting to make Morsi look like a statesman during the recent crisis in Gaza.
Obama and Hillary Clinton also warned off the military, which was alarmed by Morsi’s sectarianism. And, as the crisis mounted, Obama’s woman in Cairo, ambassador Anne Patterson, remained vocally supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood man.
Now that Obama’s policy appears to have broken down, he’s hedging his bets, telling Morsi that the U.S. “does not support any particular group” and that he “should listen to the Egyptian people.”
This is mush from the wimp. It is not, as the New York Times would have it, a case of Obama acting as he did towards Mubarak.