In the past, American presidential campaigns have featured bitter recriminations over foreign-policy reverses. Harry Truman was charged with having "lost China" following the takeover of the Chinese mainland by Mao Zedong's communists. In subsequent years, similar formulations were used to challenge those responsible for the loss to the Free World of Vietnam, Iran and post-Soviet Russia.
The question for voters to ponder in the 2012 election might be posed as "Who lost Egypt?" To make matters worse, it is likely that the losses won't stop there.
Indeed, before it's over, we well may see nearly all the Middle East fall under the sway of the team President Obama has helped take power in Cairo - the Muslim Brotherhood - to the grave detriment of the people most immediately affected, of Israel and of our interests, there and here.
To be sure, it is unclear exactly how things will shake out in Egypt. The Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party succeeded in having its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, elected president in recent weeks and installed in that office on Saturday. But the Egyptian military continues to be very much a force to be reckoned with, and the extent and timing of any formal relinquishing of its current control of virtually all aspects of the government - from the armed services to the many industries they own to the parliament and constitution-writing mechanisms - remain to be seen.
Still, the direction in which Mr. Morsi seeks to take his country is unmistakable and should be deeply worrying to all who hoped for an authentic Arab Spring in Egypt and fear the emergence there and elsewhere of an Islamist Winter. While the newly installed president has professed that he will be the leader of all Egyptians and promised to give tangible expression to that commitment by appointing as his vice presidents a Coptic Christian, a woman and a secular political figure, these will be, at best, mere window-dressing if he sticks to his pledge to impose Shariah on all his countrymen.
For example, as captured in an Egyptian television report of May 13, translated by the indispensable Middle East Media Research Institute, Mr. Morsi espoused during the course of the campaign the key tenets of the Muslim Brotherhood: "The Koran is our constitution. Jihad is our path. And death for the sake of Allah is our most lofty aspiration." He went on to add, "This nation will enjoy blessing and revival only through Islamic Shariah." Mr. Morsi concluded by saying, "I take an oath before Allah and before you all that regardless of the actual text of [the constitution], Allah willing, the text will truly reflect Shariah."
Now in office, Mr. Morsi is making clear that this direction may have dire implications for us as well as for the people of Egypt. He has declared that one of his priorities as president will be to secure the release from a life sentence in U.S. federal prison of Omar Abdul Rahman. Rahman is better known as the Blind Sheik and the prime mover behind various terrorist plots, including trying to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993. Mr. Morsi wants him repatriated to Egypt, ostensibly so he can serve out the rest of his sentence there. Fat chance.
That brings us to Team Obama. Mr. Obama was instrumental in helping the Muslim Brotherhood emerge from the shadows and come to power. For example, over the strenuous objections of his hosts, Mr. Obama demanded that the Muslim Brotherhood's representatives be included in his June 2009 "outreach to the Muslim world" address at Cairo University.
Less than two years later, Mr. Obama declared that Hosni Mubarak had to yield power within days after the Muslim Brotherhood's operatives and other demonstrators took to the streets demanding his overthrow. In the months that followed, the Obama administration began "engaging" with the Muslim Brotherhood and its formal political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party.
Then, a few months ago, in the face of bipartisan objections from Capitol Hill, the Obama administration transferred $1.5 billion in a lump-sum, no-strings-attached grant to the Egyptian government. This occurred at a time when Muslim Brotherhood and allied Salafist legislators were in charge of Egypt's parliament and drawing up a new constitution.
Most recently, Mr. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton have welcomed the ascendancy of the Muslim Brotherhood's Mr. Morsi. They evidently are considering giving tangible expression to that sentiment by accommodating his demand for the release the Blind Sheik as they allowed Hani Noor Eldin, a top member of Rahman's terrorist Gema'a al-Islamiyaa organization, to enter the United States and discuss the idea with their subordinates.
Should Team Obama now take this step, it would have a devastating effect - and not just in Egypt, where it would validate America's utter submission to the Muslim Brotherhood's agenda. It also would be seen as further evidence that the global Islamist enterprise, of which the Muslim Brotherhood is the institutional and ideological vanguard, is succeeding in making the West - as the Koran puts it - "feel subdued."
In short, the practical effect of "losing" Egypt in this way will be, pursuant to the doctrine of Shariah, to invite redoubled effort, including through the use of violence, to achieve the Muslim Brotherhood goals of imposing that totalitarian, repressive and supremacist code worldwide. Mr. Obama must be held accountable for the consequences.
Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy (www.SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for The Washington Times and host of the nationally syndicated program "Secure Freedom Radio," heard in Washington weeknights at 9 on WRC 1260 a.m.
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