President Morsi, The Middle East, and Portents of the Next War

In a recent interview with The New York Times Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi gave the United States—and whoever is sitting in the Oval Office after the 2012 election—an earful that many Americans are probably not going to be comfortable hearing. Essentially what Mr. Morsi—the first democratically elected leader of Egypt since the ousting of Mubarak—had to say was that as the leader of his country he would like to see the United States deal with Egypt in more diplomatic and culturally competent terms rather than callously throwing aid at the government and expecting it to toe the line. Mr. Morsi—formally a part of, and still a member of the Brotherhood of Islam—came off presidential in the interview and made several points that even as a supporter of Israel it is hard to dispute.

Effectively, President Morsi called for the United States to treat Egypt with a respect for its own culture, values, and people just as the United States continually demands of the world for itself. With a democratically elected and constitutional government in place, it is fair to assert that the actions of the new Egypt are probably going to be more indicative of the man-on-the-street perspective of Egyptians than its previous autocratic-though-US-friendly regime ever was. This is of course the drawback to helping nations develop freedom, and part of a general cultural incompetence on our part as a people: just because a country follows the same format of governmental rule as we do doesn’t mean they will agree with us politically. Furthermore, Mr. Morsi has intimated that the United States’ default mid-east barter of aid-for-alliance is not going to fly as surely under his administration.

His call to the United States are, instead, based in a tit for tat (from his perspective) regarding the Camp David accords which call for the United States playing a key role in the development of an autonomous Palestine based in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in return for continued peace between Israel and Egypt. While one might argue that the United States has been continually involved in this process (taking multiple times the 5 years outlined in the original deal), the continued military and terrorist activity between the two parties have made this process not only prolonged, but some say impossible. Regardless if you are pro-Israel or pro-Palestine, it is fair to assert that every day there is no violence is just another anxious moment waiting for the other shoe to drop—whether its tanks or bombs filled with ball bearings, blowing up a bus or cutting off humanitarian aid—as both sides are inevitably going to lose lives both innocent and enlisted.

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