Secretary of State John Kerry was caught with his swim trunks down as Egypt’s first democratically elected government fell to a military coup. His phone call into a security briefing from aboard his yacht on Wednesday was emblematic of the chaos and confusion in the Obama Administration as it found itself on the wrong side of history.
With the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi, President Obama’s plans for reshaping the Islamic world have taken a resounding hit.
Morsi had a lot in common with Obama, including an overcharged ego, reluctance to listen to the voters of his country and a tendency to ignore the law.
Unlike Obama, Morsi didn’t have the media or key military leaders backing him up.
The authoritarian Morsi, who received invitations to the White House, billions of dollars in aid and fighter jets from the Obama Administration, was always an embarrassment to the people of America, but the White House clearly regarded him as a key ally in its Mideast policy.
It was an alliance with the devil, and the people of Egypt knew it. Prominent among the signs held by protesters in Cairo on Wednesday were numerous anti-Obama slogans, such as “Wake Up, America, Obama Supports a Terrorist.”
Despite what some in the American media are saying, the coup doesn’t necessarily mean better days ahead for Egypt. Military coups seldom end well, and with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood suddenly forced out of power that it was handed by the voters of Egypt, it’s a sure bet that a round of terrorist violence is being planned.
The Administration has tried to distance itself from Morsi’s government, issuing a statement to the effect that the White House supports the “democratic process,” not individuals or governments. It came across as weak and unpersuasive.
The ultimate outcome for Obama’s foreign policy isn’t clear, but it’s unlikely the Egyptians will be forgetting whose side Obama was on anytime soon.