Please forgive my being dilatory in responding to blogs. Unfortunately, I caught a “bug” coming back from California. Nothing like a little virus to slow the train down. BUT now I’m back in gear and rolling once more. In the interim, we’ve had an interesting shift in power in the Middle East. President Mohamed Morsi has definitely become the new pharaoh of Egypt.
In past blogs, I put my money on the military to prevail. Bullets seemed to be stronger than boys with rocks. It now appears I misjudged. While it is hard to know why this shift occurred because the information is kept behind closed doors, probably the logic went something like this. The election was close, but everyone (with the exception of the Coptic Christians) is a Muslim and nothing is gained by having to fire on them. Morsi has turned out to be a guy who isn’t fooling around. Got to take him seriously. He may be the best choice Egypt gets. The generals decided to take him seriously. Moreover, the recent election seemed to suggest that the people wanted the generals out of politics. If that is correct, then the military had to back out or become a South American military junta. The result was Morsi now prevails. Of course, the current trend in the Middle East is toward the more radical wing of Islam. Probably, the answer was blowing in the wind.
President Morsi made a shrewd move in putting Washington on the defensive. Rather than allow Egyptians to take the blame for the embassy attack, he insisted Washington must show new respect for Muslim values and help build a Palestinian state. We are pouring billions into Egypt every year and he’s telling us to “give a little respect?” Afraid that’s the situation.
How do we decipher these actions? Because America is a pluralistic society, we have a hard time understanding theocratic cultures. As far as Morsi sees the world, there’s one way that is right and the rest of the planet is wrong. Morsi made it clear this week that Egypt intends to follow the principles of Islamic law. The president dismissed the idea that Egypt can be judged by any other standard than the ones Egyptians accept for themselves. He has said that neither a woman nor a Christian would be a suitable president of Egypt. In making these statements, Morse also made it clear that the new government will stand with the Palestinians … regardless.
America is now adjusting to the new reality with caution. President Obama described Egypt not as an ally. Avoiding using the word “enemy,” both Obama and Morsi recognized the world of Mubarak was gone.
Morsi had been a graduate student at the University of Southern California and knows America He had been troubled by the street violence in Los Angeles and dismayed by the looser sexual mores he found in America. Morsi didn’t approve of the “naked restaurants” with waitresses in skimpy costumes. Consequently, he is definitely not enthralled with the West.
Obviously, the current American election has made it clear that the USA stands resolutely with Israel. Israeli rhetoric aside, the Netanyahu government isn’t given any ground to the Palestinians. What does it mean?
Some tough days lay ahead.
Question: What adjustments must America make to have satisfactory relations with Egypt?