As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi, demonstrators gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to protest the United States’ uncritical support for the new regime, which has promised to impose Sharia upon Egypt. In the days when the U.S. was the world’s foremost defender of freedom, such a demonstration would have been unthinkable: protestors held signs reading “Message to Hillary: Egypt will never be Pakistan”; “To Hillary: Hamas will never rule Egypt” and “If you like the Ikhwan [Brotherhood], take them with you!”
But instead of standing outside with those who were demonstrating for freedom against a radically repressive ideology, the Secretary of State was inside, having a friendly meeting with that repressive ideology’s foremost Egyptian exponent. It was a telling sign of how quickly America’s international stance has changed during the regime of Barack Obama. “Things change (at) kind of warp speed,” Clinton enthused to Morsi during their meeting. Indeed.
If Clinton had any comment on the demonstration, it was not recorded. During her meeting with Morsi she mouthed platitudes about the new Muslim Brotherhood government’s looming showdown with the Egyptian military, telling the President condescendingly that reaching a mutually acceptable agreement “requires dialogue and compromise, real politics.” She also assured him that the U.S. would do everything within its power to “support the democratically elected government and to help make it a success in delivering results for the people of Egypt.”
It wasn’t immediately clear whether or not by “delivering results for the people of Egypt,” Clinton was referring to freeing the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel Rahman, mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a man who had plotted to murder Americans in the hundreds of thousands. Soon after his election, Morsi announced his determination to work for the Blind Sheikh’s freedom; Clinton was almost certainly far too polite and determined to hew to the rules of realpolitik to rebuke Morsi for this unmistakable insult to the United States. To have done so would have been a completely unexpected reversal of the line the U.S. has taken since the beginning of the “Arab Spring” uprisings that paved the way for the Brotherhood to come to power in Egypt.
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