- - Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Like it or not, America is the only superpower. When there’s trouble in the world and a president or prime minister calls 911, an American answers. When America is timid and fainthearted, the consequences thousands of miles away can be catastrophic.

Hundreds lie dead in the streets of Cairo in the wake of the military government’s suppression of Muslim Brotherhood agitators angry at the generals for deposing Mohammed Morsi, the president who had deposed his predecessor. The bloody tactics were reminiscent of those used by China to silence protesters in Tiananmen Square.

Secretary of State John Kerry addresses the chaos with simple platitudes. He calls the chaos “deplorable.” My, such strong language. “Violence will not create a road map for Egypt’s future. Violence only impedes the transition.” No kidding.
 
Two years ago, President Obama asked us to believe that President Hosni Mubarak, a reliable U.S. ally, was only a despot, a brutal dictator who gleefully ordered the suppression of dissent. He said he would insist on an “orderly transition” to remove Mr. Mubarak, and the transition “must begin now.”

More than 800 men, women and children died in the “orderly transition” that followed, a transition dominated by Islamic radicals. Hillary Rodham Clinton, then the secretary of State, said the United States was “not advocating any specific outcome.” It was just as well; in the face of American timidity the outcome was never in doubt. The radicals flocking to the banner of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was neither timid nor fainthearted, seized the advantage of numbers and organization. President Obama watched as Egypt was handed to Mohammed Morsi, who never hid his hatred of America and what America and the West stood for.

Mr. Morsi wasted little time accumulating power, incrementally erasing all traces of the democratic process that put him in office. This surprised only those who never pay attention. Islamists are driven by Shariah, the system of governance rooted in their interpretation of the Koran. They have only contempt for the give-and-take of a Western-style democracy.

The Muslim Brotherhood used brutality and violence to stifle those who questioned the regime. Egypt’s mostly secular military leaders quickly grew wary of what they saw happening, and decided to forcibly oust Mr. Morsi in what was, by any measure, a coup. The Obama administration was the only government on the planet that refused to call it a coup, lest the admission trigger a U.S. law cutting off American aid to Egypt.

Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats resist all efforts to stop the flow of powerful U.S. tanks and F-16 fighter jets to the unstable country, as if it doesn’t matter who’s running Egypt.

But it does matter. President Obama, given his Kenyan ancestry and his early Muslim education in Indonesia, imagines he has a particular understanding of the Muslim mind. Immediately after he became president he went to Cairo to grovel with a speech apologizing for America. The symbolism was unmistakable. Instead of leading, he bowed. Everyone is paying the price.

An American president must make decisions based solely on what’s good for America. That sometimes means backing an unpleasant ally. It sometimes means choosing between two equally bad options. What it must never mean is being weak and ambiguous. The result, as we see playing out of the streets of Cairo, is chaos.

The Washington Times