Official US reactions to events in Egypt have been adolescent and inconsistent at best. During the campaign, I was on my way to the airport after a conference in DC. A talk show was on the radio in the cab and the remark was made Barack “Obama’s foreign policy experience comes from eating at an International House of Pancakes.” My main issue with candidate Obama was experience. He was a first term US Senator; that doesn’t make you presidential candidate material in my book. According to Niall Ferguson:
President Obama is one of the least experienced men, in terms of foreign policy, ever to occupy the White House. And, yet, he has advisors around him who are, frankly, second, if not third, rate.
On top of that, after winning the election, Obama chose the equally inexperienced Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State. As for events in Egypt, the two have not been in synch and it becomes evident the US has no clear policy or objective concerning governance in Egypt.
Some argue Mubarek’s abdication and the Army’s sole rule for the next six months, including disolving the Parliament and suspending Egypt’s Constitution, represent submission to the will of the people. Really? Military rule means victory for democracy? At the opposite end of the spectrum, Egypt could become an Islamic state.
The US enjoyed special privileges with Egypt, including priority use of the Suez Canal. Those are all at risk now, and the implications for our national security cannot be overstated. Lack of a focused, informed, long range Middle East policy could now have significant, long-term negative consequences.